The black swan in the garden

“You’ve been awfully quiet lately,” Dorothy remarked.

“Yes, I need some time for myself.” I acquiesce. “Some time for healing. Time to get myself and my power back.”

“A lot going on again?” Dorothy inquires, whilst looking me over with a worried look.

“Well you know I have bad genetics when it comes to paranoia,” I start out. “I have reason to believe that I have a stalker in the garden. Or rather, that my stalker is back.”

“What what what?” Dorothy looks around alarmed.

“Mmm…” I gaze off for a moment, wondering where to start my story. “The cigarettes are being ligned up again.”

“You know I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about,” Dorothy gasps.

“This started happening two years ago now.” I tell her. “When I wake up in the morning and go outside, the old cigarette butts have been picked out of the ashtray and are neatly ligned up.”

“Ugh, that’s spooky.” Dorothy’s face turns in disgust. “Why would anyone do that?”

“Leaving a dirty signature.” I am of course only guessing. “To let me know that he has been here.”

“Who is he?” Dorothy is looking around as if some masked twit might jump out of us any moment now.

“Well I have a few names on my suspect list.” I confide.

“What, you have so many enemies?” Her voice sounds incredulous now.

“No, but I have had the art of attracting the wrong kind of people into my life.” I am now wondering how much I have ever told her about what happened years ago.

“Well spill the beans then,” Dorothy is sitting on the edge of her chair. “Who do you think it is?”

“At first I thought it was Marc, the baby’s daddy, because the cigarette lign-up started shortly after we broke up. “But that doesn’t make sense anymore. Because Marc is more likely to stay miles away from me. He doesn’t want to believe for one minute that he has anything to do with my little treasure. So he’s definitely not going to come hanging around here.”

“Where were the cigarette butts?” Dorothy wants to know.

“Out back on my terrace where the ashtray is.” I point out.

“So he came round the back…” Dorothy is pondering. “Your outside lights must have come one too.”

“Well it gets weirder.” I am getting goose bumps all over now. “I have found that there is an easy way over my back fence. I never noticed it before because we’ve got a little wooded area at the back of the garden. But the fenced wire on the other side is downtrodden, and on my side of the fence, somebody has set up crates to easily climb over.”

I get out my phone to show her pictures I had taken the day before.


“Oh my, this is just not right.” Dorothy takes a careful look at the pictures.

“Yes and then there’s the electric short circuit I had this week.” I go on.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?” Dorothy cries out.

“No seriously, one of the fuses blew.” I go on. “Remember when you came round on Tuesday and stuff wasn’t working?”

“Yes, that was strange.” Dorothy confirms. “We couldn’t find what was causing the fuse to refuse.”

“The electrician found it though.” I tell her. “The boiler in the pool house. It is leaking. Or rather, it looks like somebody has made a hole in the bottom to deliberately cause a short circuit.”

Again, I show her the pictures of the hole in the boiler.


“This isn’t normal, Fiona!” Dorothy is alarmed. “You’ve got to call the police.”

“And say what?” I look at her blankly. “Some invisible guy is vandalising my property but I don’t know who, I don’t know when and I don’t know why?”

“Come on, this is serious.” Dorothy insists.

“Yes, somebody is seriously sad.” I tell her calmly. “And the last thing I want is to be the crazy woman again in this story.”

“You keep saying ‘again’.” Dorothy points out. “Are you telling me this has happened before?”

So she doesn’t know. I have tried to blank out and forget about that dark episode, but it seems like now is the time to bring it out into the light so healing can begin. Healing and then transformation.

“Look, before I tell you what happened, let’s look at things from a different perspective.” I urge. “What if… I read on the internet that birds like to put cigarette butts in their nests to keep parasites away. Those crates might always have been there in the garden and I never noticed them. That fence might always have been downtrodden. It’s not like those neighbours seem to be very house proud of their little wooden chalet. I mean, that property is almost abandoned. And then finally the boiler, who knows, maybe it’s a very cheap and very old boiler that got full with calcium and started to leak all by itself.”

“Or somebody wanted your outside lights to malfunction!” Dorothy isn’t buying it.

“Okay look, remember I told you I’m writing a book.” I think this is a good place to start. “It’s an erotic thriller called ‘the Eric addiction’. My therapist thought it would be good idea I finally get it all out. It’s based on a horrible experience I had years ago, around the time of the end of my marriage.”

“What…” Dorothy is short for words.

“I was having an affair with this guy, Eric. He was a lawyer.” I tell her. “He played mind games with me and that really messed me up.”

“Yes that would.” Dorothy looks at me concerned. “I’m sorry you had to go through that.”

“He was just a sadist and a psychopath. I realised that too late.” I tell her. “Anyway, he wanted total terror and continuous fear. That’s what he told me. My mother wanted to have me interned in psychiatry. That’s when your sister intervened and I will always be grateful to her for that. She took me apart and talked to me. She introduced me to a therapist who got my feet back on the ground. He taught me how to take my power back. It was a very intense period for me.”

“I know you love my sister.” Dorothy muses. “I didn’t know it went this deep.”

“I’ll never forget what your sister did for me.” I tell her. “But I still haven’t healed. A few horrible coincidences and I’m immediately imagining Eric is messing around in my bushes.”

“You’ve got to do something about that though.” Dorothy looks at me intently.

“No I don’t.” I smile at her. “Light and love, sweetheart.”

You see people, a little bit of love can go a long way.


*** No disclaimer.




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