SHORT STORY | CECELIA AHERN
The Woman Who
ROARED Cecelia Ahern is best-known as a novelist, but this season she debuts Roar, her first anthology of short stories. Here is one of them.
he works in housekeeping in a five-star luxury hotel. Her supervisor has halitosis. She has a nine-month-old baby girl at home who is being cared for by her grandmother. Her mother relies too much on alcohol to get her through the days. She steps into the storeroom cupboard and moves Her mother is also the funniest person she knows and a box of hotel shampoo bottles to the side, revealing makes her laugh louder than anybody else ever could. a secret key panel. She types in the secret code: her Just out of school, she likes the freedom of going to school locker combination. work, doing something for This is followed by an herself. She loves the feeling “She sometimes takes the hotel audible click and the shelving of returning home, seeing chocolates that guests leave containing the white fluffy the gummy smile and the towels slides open revealing chubby hands that reach out behind and places them on a small room. It smells of to her. fresh linen, a summer breeze, There is a guy who works her mother’s pillow, turning just-washed smell. She takes in the butcher shop opposite down her bed covers.” her shoes off and steps inside. her flat that she can’t stop The ground is soft cotton, thinking about. She can see the walls are draped in it too. Behind the draping is him from her bedroom window. She can’t wipe the silly soundproofing. smile off her face every time she thinks of him. Her Once the wall of towels closes behind her, encasing baby girl is the same when she sees him. A sure sign. her in a lilac glow and the scent of lavender, she breathes She has eaten more meat this month than ever before. in and out slowly. She has three more rooms on the floor to clean and She opens her mouth. And roars. then she is finished. She sometimes takes the hotel chocolates that guests leave behind and places them on Roar (HarperCollins, €12.99) is out her mother’s pillow, turning down her bed covers. Her in Ireland on October 25, in the UK mother loves it. on November 1 and the US in April She has two secrets. Nobody knows who the father 2019. Roar is being adapted into a TV of her baby is. And this. series by Netflix’s GLOW co-creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch and coproduced with Nicole Kidman and Per Saari’s Blossom Films and Ahern’s own Greenlight Go Productions.