The sun was setting when I approached the house, casting a burnt orange/red glare across the sky on our first of many meetings at her place of mystery.
Auburn’s real name is still a mystery to a lot of people, as she’s been around for so long. However, being a writer for the ‘On The Bottom Line’ Newspaper, it was an honour to be asked to write an article about this long-time author and artist. She had been in the public eye for such a long time, I don’t remember exactly when she was born, as she’s never told anyone her date of birth.
Today, I was going to ask… see what was going to happen.
Would she tell me?
Would she laugh?
Would something else happen?
I pushed the large iron gate closed behind me and walked along the winding path up to her front steps. This place was immense! So many plants and there was so little room in this garden… it appeared to be a complete mess, and yet, it wasn’t.
I walked across the impressively wide verandah and rang the bell by the door, then waited for her to answer the door. While I did, I looked around, and resisted photographing this place… I just didn’t want to interfere with her privacy – not yet.
“Hello. You must be the reporter.” Her voice behind me was surprisingly young.
I turned to find a face of youth, “Um… yes. Ms Aurburn?”
“Call me Red, all my friends call me Red.” She smiled and her beauty shone through, and I almost forgot why I was there, “Please come in.”
Smiling I walked through the door and into her house, catching a glimpse of the outside as the sunset of the day turned the rest of the garden, skies and outside completely red – as red as Auburn’s hair.
We sat in her beautifully furnished home talking about her many publications and art exhibitions for what seemed like hours as we ate a light snack set out on a huge dining table. I felt as though I had come through that famous wardrobe into Narnia and I was dining within royal halls as the pieces inside Auburn’s home were from overseas, collectable, and there were some things around the place I notice that I just hadn’t seen before – ever! – and I didn’t have the courage to ask her where she had gotten them. But she told me anyway without me asking.
This made me wonder how she knew what I was going to ask without me asking.
“I think I have enough notes to get an article on you.” I rose from my seat, “Thank you for your time. You really must be busy.”
“It was an absolute pleasure.” She rose as I did and followed me to the door, “I look forward to reading the article.”
As I walked out to the curb where my car had been parked, I found it was gone! So, I pulled out my phone and called my office, but they hadn’t heard of me and hung up before I could say any more. I went back inside to Auburn’s place and she opened the door, “I think something has happened.”
She smiled, “Yes it has.”
“What’s happened?” I nearly didn’t want to hear her tell me, but I needed to know.
“You came here, you saw red before, you saw red… and now… you’re seeing red again.” Amusment played in her eyes.
Frustration tightened in my gut, “What the hell does that mean?”
“Red… three times… think about.”
“I gotta go.” I turned and walked away.
Walking through the gate so the local cemetery I looked around at the place, and found where our family plot was. I walked up to the plots, where they lay side by side, and found mine.
I felt sick as I read the stone: I saw red, I saw Red, I saw … red.