A day alone. I am re-living my Sunday’s of old, watching Sex and the City and eating my familiar, single lady meals of M&S prawns with cocktail sauce, and huge bowls of Caesar salad. Hold the croutons please.
Food that doesn’t bloat me. Food that strips the flesh off my hip bones and makes me feel alive again.
Isn’t it odd how you can be exhausted and wired at the same time? There is something tingling in my veins and I know not what it is, other than it will not let me sleep, though I fall into bed at nine-thirty each night and lie there, waiting.
And I wait and I wait and I wait. A moth fluttering in the pink glow of the salt lamp and too many thoughts whipping through my head. Then last night, as I got into bed, sadder than I have ever been, the oddest thing. A knock on the door and the man from across the lane standing on my path.
I wrap my Mum’s quilt around me and push the window open. Hi, I say?
Ooh hi, he says and his wife waves at me from across the road and I am bewildered because it is late and I am in bed. Hold on, I say and throw on clothes and wonder what he could possibly want at such a weird hour on a Saturday night.
For this is the new neighbour – the noisy man. He of the boy racer cars and garden full of boats. We don’t approve of him. We, in fact have a positive case of the NIMBY about us, when it comes to this tiny person. In fact if I’m honest this is a man who regularly makes me swear when he brums up his silly car first thing in the morning and whizzes off down the lane. And there he was visiting me in the middle of my night. His wife and two girls on the porch waving, and me looking like Mad Mary opening the door and staring at him bewildered.
Hi, he says again chirpy as if it was eight o’clock in the morning. Ummm hi, are you ok? I ask.
Yep. I’m Dean and that’s Dolly. We have seen you in the window and wanted to say hello.
I try to decide if I’m spooked. I wonder for a moment if they are recruiting for a special boy-racer cult. I consider him and assess his level of sobriety and decide he passes and probably isn’t casing the joint or me (yikes!) as he smiles and says sorry his cars are so noisy, he truly hadn’t realised.
His wife takes the girls into her little cottage and this man stands on my doorstep telling me rather randomly and kindly about his life and though I have no idea why he is telling me that he has moved here from Devon because his Mum has had a heart attack, nor why I need to know that he and Dolly are bewildered by the lack of interaction between neighbours around these parts, or the ins and outs of the panic attacks he has suffered all his life, I find myself laughing and forgiving him for being the root case of my nimbiness and deciding there and then to set aside my lifelong instinct to judge those I do not know.
Forty five minutes pass where I do not get a word in edgeways but laugh a lot, because this is a man with a gentle smile and quirky outlook on life, a man who finds his ridiculous cars, as ludicrous as we do, and wants to explain that it was something to focus on while his Mum was so very ill.
And then he says, so are YOU ok? And I say yes, and he says good and goodnight and crosses the lane back to Dolly and I lock the door and go back upstairs to bed, and realise that they must have been able to see me sitting in the window of the house weeping my way through the evening. And for a moment I am perturbed, and then I am grateful.
Some guardian angels have wings and others drive souped- up Subaru’s and visit you in the dead of night.
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