I sat on the steps, as the harsh-looking policeman rudely pushed the old woman down the stairs. She turned pleadingly back at them, but the tall guy near the door showed her no mercy as he threw her suitcase, filled with clothes, down too. With a sigh, she gave up and turned back for one last look at the house she had lived for sixty years.
My first memory of Mrs Pauley goes back to the day when I learnt bicycling, at five years of age. I had fallen on the road, and was alone, scared. Then, a kind old woman turned up. With a smile on her face, she helped me up, wiped the grime of my leg, and kissed me.
She took me to her home and stuffed me with sponge cakes. Yum. That was were my mom finally found me.
An introvert that I am, I hardly socialized with anyone. During these times, Jane Pauley was my bestie. The long hours of the eve (when I had absolutely NO homework) were spent in chatting with Mrs Pauley.
She had a sad life, she told me. Her husband had passed away last year, and her six sons, working in high-paying jobs, had abandoned her and gone abroad. She had no one in the world, she said, save her estranged sister, who had married a man from a different continent.
Their families had split due to the conflicts between Mrs Jane Pauley’s mother and Mrs Jean Howard (nee Pauley)’s husband. This culture shock had affected Mr Howard’s health badly, and some ten years later, he had died. This lead to even greater conflicts, which forced Mrs Howard to go to Australia.
Now that her husband was dead, she had no means to make her ends meet, let alone pay house rent. The usually genial looking landlord showed his true colours when he asked police help to evacuate Mrs Pauley.
I couldn’t take this anymore. I ran up to her, and kissed her, the same way she had done years before, only that she was down now and I was up. I helped her get inside the cab and gave her a goodbye hug. She smiled sadly at me, for what I believe is the last time.
Goodbye, Mrs Pauley.