The water began to drip from Edward's ceiling late in 2006. It took a week for the wallpaper to start falling off and a fortnight for the smell to move in. "It's very damp in here." his occasional guests would observe. At first the water came in small trickles, but as the months went by the flow became thicker and faster, like the world's least inspiring waterfall.
Edward had no idea where the water was coming from. However, Edward didn't see the leak as a major problem. "It's just a bit of damp. I can catch the water with buckets." he would mutter to convince himself.
The walls of his house were becoming blacker by the day. The wet bruises took on all shapes and sizes. Late one evening, in the Spring of 2007, one of the damp patches in Edward's kitchen took on the exact likeness of our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly Edward never got to witness this minor miracle, because it was distorted beyond holy recognition by morning.
Then in the Autumn of 2007, after the leak had been squatting in Edward's home for nearly a year, Edward found himself drunk, alone and watching The Notebook. Just as the final scene was coming to a close, it began to rain inside Edward's living room. A tropical storm contained within the walls of a semi-detached house in Hackney.
The plumber arrived the next day. He inspected the house for over six hours, checking every pipe and crack. Eventually he came to Edward and announced that he'd found the source of the leak.
"So where is it?" Edward asked.
"In here." the plumber replied, placing his hand over Edward's heart. Edward didn't understand.
"When was the last time you cried?" the plumber asked.
"I can't remember." Edward answered honestly.
"That's your problem. You've bottled up too much sadness. The walls are crying for you."
"But that doesn't make any sense!" Edward shrieked defensively "I'm not even sad."
"Of course you are. I've just done a six hour search of your house. You're 33 and you live alone. There's porn under your mattress, hidden from no-one but yourself. There are microwave meals piled ten deep in your freezer. Your DVDs are arranged in order of genre and imdb score. You've got a month's worth of shirts already ironed. I'm surprised you haven't killed yourself already. But it's OK, I can fix this. Come here."
The plumber wrapped his arms around Edward and squeezed him tightly. "Just let it out. I'm here for you."
Edward could feels his eyes start to sting. The burning from his tearducts spread down his face and under his skin. His fingers started to tingle, his breathing became deeper, and for the first time in many years, Edward began to acknowledge his sadness.
"There, there." the plumber sang, stroking the back of Edward's hair. His hands moved slowly down Edward's back, rubbing him in circular motions, lower and lower, but never lowering the intentisity of the hug. His hands arrived at Edward's waist and his fingers slipped under the trousers. Like curious caterpillars the fingers explored Edward's buttocks, before moving around to the front. The plumber took hold of Edward's penis and squeezed it gently. Edward began to feel uncomfortable, but he didn't know if it was because he was crying in front of another man or because the man was holding his penis and squeezing it gently. Something was definitely wrong. A cold shiver ran down his spine as he remembered that he hadn't called a plumber.