I never went looking for her, but I guess I unconciously hoped all my life, that our roads would cross at some point. I certainly dreamed about her, although I never could have drawn her face before the day we finally met.
She is your typical girl next door… And that’s how I saw her when she moved just a couple of houses down the street. She is cute, but doesn’t catch the eye at first sight. She does her thing, never makes waves, keeps quiet and goes about unnoticed.
Until you do notice her, that is.
And then you are doomed… Believe me, I would know.
She had lived in her little green house for about a year when she agreed to join us for a neighbourhood get together, a few months ago. She had declined a few invitations in the past, claiming that she was more of a loner. This time, she would attend the potluck, and bring some desert for all to share.
When she entered the park that night, holding a platter of colorful cupcakes, I noticed her smile. I, for one, had imagined she would be the kind to set her cakes on the table and sit alone until it had been long enough for her to politely go back home. But she had mixed in with everybody, had chatted with almost every person present.
She introduced herself, and I felt as if I had known her for years. As if we were just catching up with each other’s lives. After a little while, she drifted to meet with another neighbour. Like a butterfly, that would have landed on the back of my hand, flapped its wings slowly a few times, and flown away…
I didn’t pay too much attention to our encounter that night. I do remember how she stayed until it was time for the party to end, helping people packing up and cleaning the park.
The next day, everything was back to our little routine, people walking their dogs and children taking over the street for a hockey game, or just whatever these kids enjoyed doing. Nothing had changed, but my gaze was drawn more and more towards the little green house.
I found myself taking walks, peeking over the fence, hoping she would be working in the garden. At night, I looked for her silhouette to pass across the large living room window… Weeks went by, just catching the bouncing of her ponytail over the hedge, or a glimpse of her walking through her door.
There was just something magnetic about her. The way she didn’t need people in her life made it even more attractive. I was just like a moth, helplessly pulled to her light. Blinded by some mysterious charm, growing as days went by, without a chance to meet her again. I was tempted to go for the bold solution; simply walk to her door and ring the bell. But I kept with the more coward option; being open to fate and hoping it would allow us to bump into each other again.
One afternoon, I was lucky enough to find her emptying her gutters, on the tip of her toes on the top step of her ladder.
-May I be of some help?
I risked, suddenly realizing I’d be devastated if she refused the helping hand. But she cautiously turned her head my way, and greeting me with her wide smile and sparkling eyes, she replied without the mildest hesitation
-Well thank you, I sure could use a hand, if I don’t want to break my neck!
As we exchanged places, she paid my good deed with a fair share of stories about her life before the little green house, and giggles that punctuated the anecdotes. I took my time racking the dead leaves, enjoying her joyous presence.
When I finally stepped back down, she handed me a glass of lemonade, and I suggested that she could come over and ask, if she ever needed help again. She blushed, took back my empty glass, and agreed she gladly would, if she ever needed someone.
Her hazel gaze was hypnotizing. I had to keep myself from walking her way. All of me wanted to wrap myself around her and tell her, I found you, at long last! Which would have been more than inappropriate, since we had barely chatted. It probably would have reduced my chances of having her knock at my door anytime soon too! But my body was drawn to her as if it knew something I didn’t…
I’ve been waiting ever since. No knocking, no bell ring. I’ve seen her bringing in the groceries a couple of times, or having a cup of tea, or a beer in her backyard, but no call for help during the weeks that followed.
Until this morning.
This morning, when I went out to pick up the daily mail, glancing over the little green house, uncontrollably. I was expecting a few bills, or maybe advertisements, but there was just a small piece of folded paper at the bottom of the box.
I unfolded it, cautiously, to find a short note. The delicate and feminine hand writing was only surpassed by the message it was delivering…
Unfortunately, I am quite handy around the house, and haven’t found a reason to seek for help. But I sure could help some company over supper, if you are brave enough to risk my less impressive talents around the kitchen…
It’d be a pleasure to meet again,
Your independant neighbour.