Martina Fella is of Geman orgin and is a teacher. She is an absolute cat-lover and lives in Jumeirah with her husband, Phillipe and her daughter Amelie
She’s a woman you may know…someone you stood next to in the train? The woman who takes her trash out every night just around the time you do? She might wear a mask, all made up in joy and life and hope and joy. She probably has a dress to go with the mask… all bright and twirly and happy. She’s a woman you may know. Maybe even you.
When tiny silver pearls of dew began to shimmer in the milky moonlight she knew it would not be long until a hint of grey in the east of the dark blue night sky would reveal the approaching daylight. But now the soothing star covered black blanket still encased her. The blanket with its reiterating pattern of stars and galaxies, enwrought only by the silver thread of an occasional shooting star, made her feel safe and protected whilst she sat there in complete darkness.
Once a month she would be greeted by the smiling face of a friendly moon. She was eagerly awaiting this special visitor. Friendly faces were rare these days. Sometimes, when the night was cold, a cat would come to her on the garden bench. It was not her cat. She had no idea where it came from, but in cold nights the lonely hunter came to curl up on her lap. At first she was frightened and hesitated to touch the animal. She was not used to any form of body contact any more. But the cat kept insisting on some attention. In the end she gave in and her bony fingers found their way through the thick, silky fur and to the creature’s heart.
There were other animals in the garden as well. In the early hours of the night, when the slabs of the footpath still reflected the heat of the past day, a snake would carefully reveal itself from a gap in the low stone wall that surrounded the garden. Without a sound the reptile would wind itself through the flower beds and then disappear into the nearby meadow.
On calm nights, when no blade of grass, no leaf of the old oak tree moved, she would be able to hear the high-frequency sounds of bats whooshing on silent wings through the air above her. Another regular visitor was a hedgehog. Usually she could hear him snuffle and raking long before his two beady eyes and his shiny little nose appeared from under the nearby hydrangea bush. Should he find his favorite prey, a slimy slug or an earthworm, he would chomp and smack so loud that one would imagine a much larger creature feasting. A hint of a smile would pass over her pale face.
One of her favorite companions was the garden spider. Having spent all day motionlessly waiting for an unwary insect in the center of her cartwheel net, the arachnid, now under cover of darkness, would repair or rebuild its work of art. She would never get tired of watching the eight legged creature tirelessly fixing its web, its livelihood, with skilled movements… every night,again and again and again.
In the course of time her vision had adapted to the night. Her eyes could make things out even under the subtle light of the stars. She had learned that out under the open sky the night was never really pitch black. The darkness in the house was forbidding, but here in the garden she felt at ease.
The house’s dark windows looked down on her like lifeless eyes. It hadn’t always been like that. She once considered this place her home. There was a time when the house was filled with laughter and love. There was a time when the scent of a freshly prepared meal would troop from the kitchen. There was a time when one would stumble over left-behind toys in the garden. There was a time when the old oak tree carried a mythical tree-house castle… Only a few rotten wooden boards and a tattered piece of rope remained. The toys had been removed and the hob in the kitchen remained cold.
A perfidious greyish gleam exhorted her about the approaching end of the night. As if a heavy burden would press her down she struggled to lift herself up from the garden bench. Slowly she made her way towards the bed of roses. She knew each and every one of them and although their majestic blossoms were still covered by a gray vale, she could tell by their smell and texture who they were… There was the pale pink Queen Elizabeth, Snow-white, the yellow Graham Thomas and the cream colored Ghislaine de Felingonde. She touched them gently and inhaled their delightful perfume. The grey on the horizon already showed a trace of orange. It was time to go back.
When she entered the silent house she heard the shrill beep of her husband’s alarm clock coming out of his bedroom. In a little while there would be the sound of the flushing toilet, then running water from the shower.
She had to hurry up. Quietly she sneaked up the stairs. She reached her bedroom just on time. Before the first ray of light could glimpse over the rolling hills, she closed her window shutters, the large French windows and drew together the heavy velvet curtains. In the dim light of her bedside table lamp her breakfast was waiting: A glass of water and three white pills, one against migraine, one antidepressant and a strong barbiturate. Her day could begin.