6A Cahill Road.
“I think this is the one”, Achi said turning his gaze from the street to his wife.
A gust of wind blew fiercely, he shuddered, pulling the flap of his blazer up and adjusting his scarf. He carried their only suitcase and led the way up the steep cobble stoned walkway to the house.
The door was a brilliant shade of blue and was numbered 6A in faded gold metal. At the top of the steps, lay a doormat that read the words WELCOME in green shamrock lettering. He knocked firmly on the door and waited. After a moment or two, the door was opened, and a middle aged woman stood and stared at them.
“Archee?” she asked startled, with a strong Irish accent.
“Yes,” he said smiling, relieved that they had finally arrived at the right place.
The woman hesitated, “I wasn’t expecting . . .” her voice trailed off as she looked at them. Her face flushed like a rose, she closed the door.
Achi’s face fell and he turned to his wife, he could see the disappointment in her eyes. Frozen to the spot, he couldn’t move. He just stood in disbelief, wondering what he would possibly do next.
Some moments passed and then the door was re- opened again, only this time to just a fraction.
“We don’t have any rooms to let no more; you’ll have to look elsewhere”, the woman said, with a blank expression on her face.
Achi looked at her closely. “I saw an advert in the newspaper for a room to rent and I thought that . . .”
“Well you thought wrong,” she snapped.
Achi looked at the handwritten ‘Rooms to Rent’ sign in the window. The woman looked at the sign and stared straight back at him.
“I’m sorry to have troubled you . . .” he said and turned to leave.
After the long journey here, and a temporary stay at Rye Hall, the couple had been to Ashfield House and The Brewery Hotel where they had instantly been refused. It was not unusual to have trouble finding a place to stay in the university town. There just had to be a vacant room somewhere.
“We don’t do credit, rent has to be paid two weeks in advance, we don’t allow any noise after 10 pm and certainly we don’t want no trouble”.
Achi turned back to face her.
“Myself and my wife – we are students, we just need a room to stay in – we won’t be any trouble”, he promised.
His eyes pleaded with hers, and searched her face solemnly. There was no where else for them to go. He stood back and beckoned his wife to step forward for her approval. She glanced at Fidelia and noticed the silver crucifix necklace around her neck. Then, in what seemed like thetwinkling of an eye, she opened the door wider to their amazement.
“Come in, I’ll show you both the room”, she said.
Achi smiled half-heartedly, beckoning his wife to step inside follow in after.
A chill of wind crept in as the door closed behind them.