The stairs creak as you step on them and you tread as lightly as you can. Not that you are trying to sneak around but just that they sound so loud.

Reaching the landing you look around. Ahead of you is the bathroom and you have a quick look. Small with clouds of dust and hair in the corners. A deep green bath with a shower over it. Toothpaste and whiskers on the basin. A cracked mirror.

You head up the next flight of stairs towards Polly's room.

You pass a door on your left and hesitate. It must be Ned's room.

You move past and stop at the half open door. Quiet music is playing. You knock lightly on the door. 'Kate?'

'Yeh? Come in.'

You push the door and go in.

The room is bright and sunny and Kate is sitting at a desk by the window.

'Sorry, are you busy?'

'No,' she swings around on the chair, 'Come in. I didn't know you were here.'

'Just got back.'

'Sit.' She gestures towards the bed. 'I was just doing some reading for class. But it's so goddamn boring. Glad you came up.'

'What are you studying.'

'Just Arts.'

'There's nothing wrong with Arts. I did Arts.'

She smiles at you. 'A fellow sufferer. "You'll never get a job. What a useless course." What was your major?'

'Art. Yours?'

'Politics. Think I'm getting a bit disillusioned now though. Too old for ideals.'

'Yeh. Right.' Your reply is a little sarcastic and you look around the room. 'Great room.'

'Yeh, these old houses are pretty good. Have you seen the rest?'


'Have you seen Pol's room. Or come downstairs and I'll make a cup of tea.'

'Sure.' You get up and follow her out.

Philippa J Burne 1996