A Week in June, Part 5

Jacob rings the bell for reception. Clara comes to the intercom and presses the button to answer.

 

Clara:

Hello, Clara speaking, how may I help?

 

Jacob:

This is Jacob Moraine, though I’m down as

Horstgrab. I’m here to see flat number eight.

 

Clara:

Hello, you’re quite early, but don’t worry,

It’s all set up. I’ll just press the buzzer

To let you in. First floor up on the left.

 

Clara presses the button to open the door, and walks down to greet Jacob, helping him to take his luggage upstairs.

 

Clara:

Hello, Jacob, welcome to your new home.

My name is Miss Clara Palmer, from the

Bournemoor Community Housing Trust, or

The CHT for short.

 

Jacob:

Pleased to meet you.

 

Clara:

It’s a pleasure to meet you, too. You know,

Eve said you’re a presentable young man,

But I didn’t think you would be sooooo cute.

Jacob, before we go any further,

Have you any ID with you at all?

 

Jacob opens the front pouch of his rucksack and reaches for his ID.

 

Jacob:

Yeah, a passport, also a bank statement.

 

Clara:

That’s great, I’ll just take a photo of those.

 

Jacob passes Clara documents. She takes photos of them with her mobile phone, and hands them back. Clara and Jacob then walk up the stairs with the luggage.

 

Jacob:

I look as cute as a water vole, right?

 

Clara:

Come now, don’t be modest. How long did it

Take you to get from your old place to here?

 

Jacob:

Just ten or so minutes in a taxi.

I found out this morning  I was moving.

 

Clara:

Oh my God! I bet that was a surprize.

 

Jacob:

Yes, but on the whole quite pleasant, though I

Would’ve preferred a say in the matter.

 

Clara takes out the key and unlocks the door. She shows Jacob the two keys individually.

 

Clara:

 

This key opens the door with just one turn,

Like so, and the other key, for the main

Entrance, must be turned twice. Pretty simple.

 

Clara takes Jacob from the entrance through to the front room.

 

Clara:

Let me show you around, and then decide.

Yourself. Here’s the front room. There’s a TV

In the corner, which the former tenant

Has left. It’s not modern, but it comes with

A freeview box and does the job. As you

Can see, a sofabed, for any guests.

 

Jacob:

OK, that’s cool. What are the rules on that?

 

Clara motions Jacob past the bathroom through to the kitchen.

 

Clara:

Oh, we’re relaxed, basically, just as

Long as you keep the noise down by ten.

Now, the kitchen has just been refurbished,

Like the bathroom. There are cupboards with some

Utensils but you’ll have to buy the rest.

It’s all electric here. We’ve had complaints

About showers before, but everything

Seems to have been totally fixed. It’s a

Stand in shower, plus the standard basin.

Behind this door here is a storage space for

Towels, and the boiler, and I’m sure a

Clever young man like you can work out.

 

Jacob:

I’m sure, unless you want to show me how.

 

Clara looks at Jacob nonplussed and guides him to the bedroom.

 

Clara:

Erm … on to the bedroom, there’s a desk, a

Wardrobe, hangers, and sheets for the mattress.

It’s so, so snug when the winters draw in.

 

Jacob:

And room for me to toss and turn most nights.

 

Clara:

Aww, it’s doesn’t have to be that way, I’m

Sure you’ll get lots of rest here on your own

Or otherwise … as you can see, from the

Window, a pretty view of the river.

It’s a stunning place for romantic walks.

 

Jacob:

Or for introspective wandering, like …

 

Clara:

Oh you mean like Caspar David Friedrich?

He’s like one of my favourite painters!

 

Jacob:

I love Der Wanderer. It’s in Hamburg?

 

Clara:

It’s soooo amazing! I was like so blown

Away by it. Maybe when you find work …

 

Jacob:

Even better, win big on the GGs.

 

Clara:

Oh my God! I wanted to work in a

Stable, but my foster parents said no.

 

Jacob:

That means you’re an orphan as well? Oh wow!

 

Clara:

Yes, I even lived in this block of flats

Actually, but … that was three years ago.

Y’know, I must have made a totally

Strong impression on the Trust, as I got

A job almost as soon as I moved in.

 

Jacob:

Are there any current job vacancies?

 

Clara:

Unfortunately not, we’ve had to make

A series of cutbacks. To tell the truth,

As much as I’m sure we’d make a super

Team together, even my job isn’t

Secure – I’m sure it won’t be long before

A big firm comes and snaps you up.

So, Jacob, do you have any questions?

 

Jacob:

Yes, what are the local amenities?

 

Clara:

There’s a local grocers and newsagents,

And a market twenty minutes upstream.

Apart from that, there’s a pretty cafe

Called On the Brook, absolutely the best

Cafe ever. I’d take you there myself,

But I’m fully booked with showings this week.

 

Jacob:

Another time, now you know where I live.

 

Clara:

I can hardly forget that, the contract

Is for three months, initially,

Three hundred pounds monthly, on top of that

Water and electricity. Eve said

That you’ll get some help from the Job Centre?

 

Jacob:

Yeah, I’ll be on Universal Credit.

 

Clara:

I’m sure you’ll find work soon but still you must

Accept this is only temporary.

 

Jacob:

It’s not ideal but it’s a start at least.

 

Clara passes the contract for and a pen Jacob to sign. Jacob signs it after reading the terms and conditions.

 

Clara:

Firstly, please read the terms and conditions.

Then if you’ll just sign here … and we’re all done.

 

Jacob:

Splendid. My first as an adult, you know.

 

Clara:

Well, maybe it won’t be the last that we sign.

So, do you have any plans for this week?

 

Jacob:

I need to sign on tomorrow, but I

Have a possible trip in two days time.

 

Clara:

Oh, how thrilling! Where do you have in mind?

 

Jacob:

Royal Ascot, I got a note from the

Taxi Driver, from a lady, Cesca.

She has a spare ticket for Gold Cup day,

Because a friend of her’s can’t make it, and …

What’s wrong? You’re gone pale all of a sudden.

 

Clara:

No, no. It’s just that … well … I am that friend.

 

Jacob:

Oh. Well, if I had known then I …

 

Clara:

I was really looking forward to it,

But I have soooo much on at work. I’ve been

For the last two years, so it’s no big deal.

 

Jacob:

I see. So you’re a big racing fan, too?

 

Clara:

Cesca is, I just tag along, but you

Must go, absolutely, it’s amazing.

 

Jacob:

It would be my first time. I watch it on

TV but I’ve never been old enough

To bet. Cesca may have sold the ticket by now.

 

Clara:

I hope not. I was on the phone before

You came, and she was still fretting big time.

 

Jacob:

At least that’s gives me hope, I guess.

 

Clara:

Listen, she’s turned down two strangers, so don’t

Just say you got it from Tommy, he’ll get

His tip. Just say you’re a good friend of mine.

 

Jacob:

I’m glad to be your friend. My first true friend, really.

 

Clara:

Awww. I know how you feel, which is why I

Was like so, so glad when I met Cesca.

My work colleagues are just acquaintances,

Francesca is my only real friend. I think

All her others bore her, only like her

For her money. We’re quite picky, you know.

 

Jacob:

Can I give you a hug, just to thank you?

 

Clara gives Jacob a big embrace.

 

Clara:

I bet this is your first real hug, I mean …

 

Jacob:

It’s true, except from Eve, that doesn’t count!

 

Clara:

She’s not that much older than you, you know!

She told me she didn’t want to lose you,

Sadly she had no say in the matter.

 

Jacob:

I didn’t know. Well I liked her a lot …

But all of her ideas fell on deaf ears.

 

Clara:

Oh, with Joseph? As I call him, Janus.

 

Jacob:

Ha! I should have thought of that name! I just

Called him Uncle Joe like Stalin, But then

That is perhaps an insult to Stalin.

 

Clara:

It was kind of Eve to arrange the move

I’ll ring her when I get back home, and let

Her know just how much you truly miss her.

 

Jacob:

If you wish, I’ll feel too … I don’t know …

 

Clara:

I know, young men like you think it is like

Effeminate to, erm, express yourself

In such a way, better if I do it.

 

Jacob:

It’s not like that at all, but the problem

Is I’m too expressive for Joseph’s taste.

 

Clara:

Ah, I see, you’re afraid how he’d react.

 

Jacob:

Something along those lines, I’m sensitive.

 

Clara:

That’s grand, I like you all the more for that.

Listen, I better go. I’ll be in touch.

Happy birthday! Let me take you shopping

On the weekend, I’ll buy you a present.

 

Jacob:

You don’t have to, really, but thanks again.

I’m not used to these small acts of kindness.

 

Clara:

But I insist! And good luck with Cesca!

Also, can I have your mobile number?

I need to know, for work, to be honest.

 

Jacob:

Certainly, let me write it down for you.

 

Clara passes Jacob a pen. Jacob writes down his number and hands over the piece of paper. Clara rips paper in half and writes hers, before handing it back to Jacob.

 

Clara:

Here’s mine. Can I take a photo of you?

It’s for the CHT page on Facebook.

 

Jacob:

I don’t like my photo being taken,

But if it is for work, then sobeit.

 

Clara takes a photo of Jacob with her mobile phone.

 

Clara:

I take it that means you’re not on Facebook?

 

Jacob:

I was banned from using the internet.

 

Clara:

What?! Oh my God! How strict is that? I’ll set

Up a Facebook account for you. I want

The whole world to know how handsome you are.

Maybe you could even be a model!

 

Jacob:

Now that’s a thought. Alright, until Sunday?

 

Clara:

Until Sunday. Happy birthday again.

 

Jacob opens the door. They hug each other again before Clara exits.

 

© 2017 AGP

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