“I got you a present!” shrieks Sister excitedly, hopping from foot to foot as I wearily enter the house.
She gives me a box, and I look expectantly at it. It is a doorbell.
“It’s a doorbell!” she says rather unnecessarily. “Hooray!” I respond with genuine enthusiasm. No longer will my hordes of daily visitors stand beating on my door to no avail; no more will I receive irate phone calls from friends telling they’ve been standing outside hollering for the past ten minutes; never again will I experience the annoyance of the little postcard from the Royal Mail on a Saturday morning, informing me that We tried to deliver a parcel to you, but you weren’t in.
It is late, and I am badly in need of sleep, but my immediate priority in life is obviously now to set up my doorbell. We take to it with screwdrivers and eventually get it to ding-dong. As I am replacing the cover, I accidentally press another button, and the doorbell cheerfully begins to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It is magical. We gaze at each other with a sense of awed wonder.
“Press it again,” urges Sister jumping up and down on the spot. I obediently push the button and a dog begins to bark from inside the doorbell. Kat leaps several feet in the air and disappears underneath the table, hissing. Like an addict returning for another fix, I push the button again, and again, and again. The doorbell performs several musical wonders, and we decide upon a cheerful, chirpy little jingle that makes us both do a happy dance when we hear it.
Dirk phones in the middle of the proceedings, and we play the happy tune at him. “Oh, sweet sassifrass,” he sighs, sounding disturbed. “Are you going to dance all the way to the door now every time I visit?” We inform him that this is indeed the case, and he seems to deal with it quite well.
“Wouldn’t it be funny,” he adds thoughtfully, “if someone was to come to your door at random intervals in the middle of the night and press the doorbell?”
My enthusiasm begins to die down a little bit. “No,” I say after careful consideration, “that would not be funny, Dirk. It would not be funny at all.” Sister sniggers. Apparently she thinks it might actually be quite amusing, being someone who is not so fiercely protective of a girl’s right to a night of uninterrupted sleep.
Boys can steal your innocent joy sometimes. Anyway, we go upstairs, having gone outside and pressed the doorbell several times. As I get ready for bed, I realise Sister is standing in the spare room, peering out into the darkness. “What are you doing?” I ask curiously. She doesn’t turn around. “I want someone to come to the door,” she says, a hopeful note to her voice. Good grief.
I go to bed.