The familiar stranger

It’s late on a cold, dark and windy April evening and there is a noise at the door.

I investigate.

A complete stranger is lying there.

Immediately I become nervous.

The Stranger is unusual looking, but vaguely familiar.

I can’t quite determine its gender, but The Stranger looks vulnerable and I feel a strange, novel instinct to help.

However, before I can ask any questions The Stranger holds me with a hypnotic gaze that goes right into my soul.

The gaze seems to say.

Hello. You don’t know me. But I know you are about to let me into your house. And I know that you will continue to host me for the next 18 years at least.

The big brown eyes don’t waver. The Stranger’s head tilts to one side and the voice, which seems to be in my mind, continues

I also know that over this time you will also feed me, provide me with clean clothes, and service my every need”.

Now at this point I’m standing in the doorway, unsure whether to close the door. I nervously glance up and down the road. Nope, no clues here. 

But I have worked out that it’s a girl though. It’s definitely a girl.

However, without missing a beat, The Stranger continues

While I am living with you I will deprive you of sleep, to the point where you may find yourself crying in desperation. I will regularly vomit, urinate and defecate in your house, and also on you”.

The Stranger writhes on the floor and settles as if to emphasise the point, and then carries on.

You will show me your most valuable possessions and I will ruin them. I will question and challenge everything you know, or think you know.

I blink, uncomprehending. The voice goes on.

I will frequently let you down in public, but it will be you that the public will blame. I will cause you to have arguments (some of them irreconcilable) with your wife, friends and family

My mouth is hanging open. I realise I have been holding my breathe. Still The Stranger continues

I will wipe my nose on you. You will go to work with my body fluids on your clothes. I will scream in your ear until you get tinnitus”

Recovering from the initial shock, I start to become emboldened. “Now just a minute….”

But still The Stranger doesnt miss a beat. There is something hypnotic about this person, strangely alluring. I’m hearing the words but they are not registering. She is actually quite beautiful. I am mesmerised.

“I will also sleep with your wife and command her body for the next 12 months at least. I will suck every last penny out of your wallet. I will force you to accept a status where your needs will be secondary to mine for the rest of your life. You will recognise my failures as yours”

I find myself smiling. Her words are like wind chimes, entrancing, soothing.

“And just so that we are REALLY clear, you will no longer have spare time. Because when you are not doing everything I have spoken of, I will occupy every waking thought that you have for the rest of your life. And if you are lucky to ever get any sleep again, probably your unconscious thoughts and dreams too”

But I am no longer hearing this voice, I hear the words, but the beauty of this girl has latched onto something deep and primal in my soul. I can feel a deep love radiating from within. Still the voice continues, its soothing tones washing over me like great chrome waves.

“And if you ever think to complain about me, my very being will frequently remind you that it was your decision to accept me into your life in the first place”

Now I’m looking directly into The Stranger’s eyes. I am feeling a profound connection, something I have never felt before. It is a feeling more ancient and more powerful than I can describe.

I have forgotten every word The Stranger has said. I am just looking into her gorgeous brown eyes.

Before I know it I have lifted her up and I am cradling her in my arms. I am running my finger down the bridge of her nose and smiling uncontrollably at her.

It is a smile I haven’t felt for many years. It breaks across my face, awakening old muscles, long abandoned and for a second I worry that it might break into my ears.

I carry her into the light and warmth of the house and close the door on the darkness with my leg, unable to break for a second from her gaze.

I find myself whispering something in her ear. I am whispering “Come in, come in. This is your home beautiful girl. We are home.”



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