I stood and listened to the silence. I have spent my life learning to listen, it’s my craft, my art. My skill has become an intuition, a sixth sense. What I love to do the most and what I’m best at is simply to listen and to understand what other people think and feel, although obviously I only really want to listen to people who think and feel the same things as me. That’s why I listen to Radio 4 and only read the Sunday Times. I listened to the kitchen wall, then I talked to it, in fact a surprisingly good conversation was soon struck up, better than any with my agent that's for certain. With him it really is a case of talking to a brick wall. ‘Whose house in the village is the fairest of them all?’ I asked the wall. ‘Why your’s is of course, darling’, said the wall, ‘and you’re looking pretty damn hot yourself Rilly, if I may say so’. I smiled modestly and breathed deeply. For the first time in a long while I didn't feel so tense. I was breathing in more than air, I was breathing in the future, and happiness, I was breathing in hope, and above all I was breathing in seventeen different kinds of solvent based decorating products and it felt good.
When I got back from my communing with the new house Natalia was looking very concerned. ‘Mrs Super’, she said, ‘I’m worried about Milly’. ‘Whatever is the matter dear?' I asked, rather preoccupied with whether we should have ordered Dimity instead of Tallow with which to paint the inside of the broom cupboard. ‘I think your daughter has been spending too much time reading Wife in the North, Mrs Super’, she replied gravely. ‘I don’t know what you mean dear!' I snapped, 'it's quite impossible to spend too much time reading Wife in the North!' Suddenly the subject of our discussion herself appeared in the doorway. Natalia and I both turned to my daughter. ‘Well, she looks fine to me!’ I told Natalia. ‘Mummy!’ Milly began excitedly. ‘Yes Milly, what is it dear? You’ve had Natalia all worried about you, you know!' I said. Milly’s gaze shifted to somewhere over my shoulder. She hesitated for a moment. 'Mummy', she began, 'I see dead people'. I looked at Natalia, looked at my daughter, and grabbed my keys. I hoped the hope of the doomed that Bargain Booze was still open.