Was it something I ate? Was it not eating anything since my weight watchers one-piece-of-toast-with-one tablespoon-of-peanut butter breakfast and my nibble on an old biscuit? Was in nerves?
Whatever it was, my stomach didn’t feel right. While Paul, Jesse and Scott went off to experience The London Eye, I rested on the hotel bed, hoping my stomach would improve.
At around seven, we set off for an Indian restaurant recommended by one of Jesse’s friends. It took us a while to find the place, which turned out to be small and intimate with no more than eight tables. The waiter fluttered around us making various suggestions. While we were deciding, I asked for water. Then, more water. “Another glass of water, please.” “Could I please have another glass of water?” I pointed to something on the menu, “I’ll have that, and another glass of water.” I thought I saw the waiter raise an eyebrow.
I was in a dire predicament. My stomach was lurching up, down, side-to-side. I was sure I was going to pass out. But right here? Could I make it out to the sidewalk where there was some air? The toilet? Was there a bathroom in this place? I suddenly stood up, grabbed my purse. “I’ll be right back,” I said.
I went round the corner, and gasped towards a waiter, “The ladies’ room?” He pointed to the stairs. I put one foot on the top step and out of my mouth poured the shiny, slimy, smelly greenish vomit like an organic slinky jumping down the stairs. I sidestepped the mess, ran into the bathroom and locked myself into a stall.
God! How could this happen? Now? Here? Over dinner with my stepsons?
I dampened a towel and wiped off my shoes. Took another damp towel and washed off my purse and my knees. Took another damp towel and washed out my mouth. Finally, I peaked out the door. A waiter had just finished mopping up the stairs.
I gave him a wan smile as I passed him on my way up and whispered loudly, “I am so very sorry.”
He nodded his head, as in apology accepted.
The next morning, we arrived at 20 Maresfield Gardens–The Freud Museum–just before 10:00 a.m., our appointed time.
I whipped out my iPad to capture my grandmother’s house with my newfangled device while Paul took a photo if me with his own iPad.
My first impression was, well, it is a beautiful house…substantial, even imposing, with such lovely roses in front. And, It’s kept up. Two blue placards stamp its historical significance onto the front red brick facade: one to honor Sigmund Freud, the other to honor his daughter, Anna Freud.
I pressed the intercom for the office to the left of the side door and was buzzed in.
We traipsed up the side staircase where the present offices are, through Freud’s bedroom, which became Grandmother’s bedroom after he died. The shades were still drawn. It was too dark to see anything much. We came out on the landing where there was light and space and I thought…this is a bit better, Paul and his sons can at least see what the house is like.
But, I shuddered as I went down the stairs to the front hall, the scene of so many ice-cold formal visits; the space a visitor (granddaughter) such as myself would be let into after you rang the front door bell. The secrecy of the house came back to me…so many nuanced relationships (alive and dead) for a young girl to contend with.