The garden is filled with rich colours; the scent of flowers greets me as I walk through the gate. Following the path to the verandah, I glance around me. The roses are in bloom.
I strike the knocker and wait, peeking behind me again to take in the beauty of the garden.
The door opens. ‘Yes?’ The voice is gruff.
‘Morning, I’m from the organisation called RADV. Have you heard of us? Rise Against Domestic Violence. I’m collecting donations for our shelter and other programs. Would you like to contribute?’
‘No, thank you.’
‘But sir, it’s such a worthy cause.’
The door slams in my face. I make my way towards his gate, stopping at the rose bush. I pull from my handbag my manicure set. There’s a pair of nail scissors in there that’ll do the trick. I snip a few roses from the top of the bushes, where the stems are thin and not so hardy. I grab tissues from my purse pack and moisten them in the owner’s bird bath, then carefully wrap the bottom of my freshly cut roses.
‘Get off my property,’ the man yells. I turn to look; he’s peering from the front window, all frowning brow and glowering eyes. He shakes his fist for further impact. I flip him the bird before heading to the footpath, leaving the gate ajar to knock against the latch in the breeze.
Holding my small bunch of roses in my hand, I walk to the next house. I draw breath, getting ready for more hostility. No one seems interested in door-to-door donations these days.
There’s no fence around the front yard, so I walk across the grass to the door. It opens as I step onto the verandah to reveal a young man, dressed only in his jocks and a pair of socks.
My cheeks feel hot.
‘Help ya?’ he asks with a wry grin. Presumably he’s noticed the flush in my cheeks.
I repeat my spiel.
‘Sure, I’ll make a donation.’ He throws his head back and laughs. Something feels off. His cackle, his attire, my gut. They’re all screaming for me to get out.
‘Thank you,’ I say, backing towards the footpath. ‘I’ll just wait for you out front.’ In all the years I’ve been participating in this organisation’s door knock appeal, I thought I’d seen it all. My senses are heightened, my hackles raised.
My footsteps falter as he drops his undies to his ankles. ‘This is my donation, lady! Come and take it!’
I yelp in disgust. No charm, no innuendo from this bloke.
I run back to my car. I’m done.