I stared at the TV screen; my mind devoured nothing of what my eyes were feeding it. I was restless, anxious, fidgety, paranoid, incoherent, and a whole lot of other feelings the dictionary didn’t have words for. I have never gone this long without writing. I propped my feet up on the couch, my thighs pressed against my chest; I rested my forehead on my knees holding my head in the palms of my hands. My fingers combed through my caramel- brown hair, grabbing the locks and pulling tight till my roots screamed with disapproval. My empty thoughts were harrowing; it was eating at my sanity.
I got up and walked west towards the French doors that led out to the patio. I peered outside; the sight was daunting. It definitely wasn’t that breathtaking view I saw that warm summer morning we drove up the narrow pebbled road. The scenery outside my new house was like the description of a far away land in a fairy tale; it always reminded me of how fate intervenes when you least expect it. If it wasn’t for fate’s hand and a little help from Stephanie, I would be living in that rat hole of an apartment that I came across in the classifieds almost two years ago, listed as, ‘Cosy one bedroom. Intimate setting; perfect for one… gorgeous view’. Yeah right; if my idea of a gorgeous view was a fat old hairy man parading in his underwear on his front porch, and enough rats to give the feeling that I was living in a sewer; but it was the only place available in the area that was in my budget. It was only going to be temporary until I find something where my roommates won’t give me rabies.
So while packing to move out of my editor’s spare room and into the barely furnished waste-land, Steph’s PMS kicked in, and her craving for sweets called out to her. So we made our way to her favourite bakery, Roma’s where Peter Flamini, bakery owner and neighbourhood gossiper about his own family happenings, informed Stephanie that his grandma had just passed away leaving him with her cottage, and because he had taken permanent residence in the apartment above his bakery, he was leasing the house. My silent shrieks poured out of my mouth and Peter and Stephanie both flinched at my exaggerated excitement. After hearing the price I didn’t even consider looking at the place; it was two corners away, in my budget and I’m sure much better than the toxic dump, which by the Goddess of Luck’s hand, I didn’t have to give the three month deposit till I moved in. So I shook Peter’s hand, told him I’ll take it, took care of the payment and signed the lease that same evening.
I had reservations that night; my mind kept me awake stirring thoughts of what could be a disaster. What did I just do; my parents would kill me if they knew I paid money for something I had never seen, especially something as grand as a house; they had raised me to be more responsible than that! The persistent doubts overflowed to the next morning. I sat in the front seat of Steph’s Volvo, my hands clenched as beads of sweat immerged above my lip; having a place of my own was something I had always dreamed of, and living inEngland, well that was a fantasy. But my spontaneous action could pay off with an acceptable fixer upper or bite me in the butt and I could have a derelict mess in my hands. As Stephanie turned right onto the narrow gravel road, relief overpowered me.
The scenery was picturesque; nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that captivated my attention. The road was nestled between at least twelve acres of freshly cut grass. Two white six foot high picket fences enclosed the lots on both sides of the road and six gargantuan oak trees stood erect, directly opposite each other like a welcoming committee. Their branches intertwined forming a blanket of foliage that interrupted the sun’s light at scattered intervals, turning sections of the road from dull gray, to brilliant gold. And there waiting at the end of the road was my new home, in the direct centre dividing the expansive landscape.
It was secluded; the road was at least a five minutes walk to the main road. I liked that. We had reached the end of the road where the lovely cottage greeted us. I felt like Goldilocks; it was just right.
We got out of the car and as I shut the door, I heard a soft neigh that stole my interest away from the house, to behind the white fence. A white horse stood nodding his head intently as if having a conversation with an invisible creature. My eyes bulged at the sight of its beauty. It was the first time I ever saw a horse this close.
“Hey do you come with the house?” I said as I walked over slowly toward it. The horse reacted by staring at me intently. It was almost like it understood me.
“He’s an old guy.” said Stephanie placing her sunglasses on her head. “They brought him down from the Sparrow Ranch further north. Said he’s a terror, only attacking the other horses and neighing all hours of the night. So Mr. Sparrow asked if he could stay here. Peter agreed as long as he was taken care of. The stable boys take turns coming down to check up on him.” She laughed and I looked at her. “Heard he almost castrated one of them when they tried to scrape his hooves,” she giggled again.
I turned and looked at the white stallion. Somehow I wasn’t afraid as I approached the fence. I tiptoed and carefully stretched my hand out to him. He made a sound sort of like a snort and I hesitated, then slowly my hand drew nearer and I was brushing his mane with my finger tips. I smiled; it felt exhilarating. The wind picked up making the amber and bronze leaves dance circles around us. I looked at the cottage again. It was like the warm breeze touched my soul because I suddenly knew I was home.
the multi-coloured flowers I had planted in the cute little clay pots during the last summer, stood in a chorus line on the banisters encircling the rectangular porch, but they were suffocated by a thick film of white powder. I groaned at the sight of the wilted carnage; my face turned from solemn, to disgust. Why did it have to snow today? I hate the snow; I could easily go out when my friend, the sun would appear in all it’s glory, allowing its rays to inject my brain, unclogging all the feelings of cluster phobia; but when it was snowing, I was trapped. The snow was like miniscule puffs of white, voracious bombs, guarding the vicinity of my home, waiting to melt away the little heat my body could produce in this frozen hell.
This winter was the coldest I’ve ever experienced, but hopefully not for long; the weather man ensured that there was just one more month of frigid endurance. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, the anticipation was growing at the thought of seeing the sun in all it’s glory again; I could almost smell it now; the warmth would soon embrace my bones. I opened my eyes and exhaled, I turned around and caught sight of my laptop; forlorn and useless it sat there taunting me. I needed to release this gnawing tension that was simmering, melting my patience.
I walked over to my stereo; my hands outstretched, reaching desperately for comfort. I grabbed the first CD my fingers touched, opened it, roughly jammed it in to the little slit and pressed play. The Killers – When you were young began. I immediately knew that my hands had chosen right. This was the CD that Stephanie, my editor had made for me a couple weeks ago; a collaboration of my favourite artists. I turned up the volume to an almost ear bleeding level; the music hummed beneath my skin, vibrating my pores. My body began to shake, moving in sync to every beat. I was jumping now, my hair violently swinging, lashing against my face; it was rejuvenating, like soft stinging whips slapping me awake. I was dancing, moving every limb, prancing around the living room, screaming the song lyrics till my throat burned.
By the time the fifth song started, Coldplay’s, Viva La Vida, sweat was running down my back. I was standing on my couch, a pot spoon in my hand posing as a microphone; my ears were throbbing but I didn’t care, I continued my private concert, me playing a tone deaf singer, my own groupie and number one fan balled in one.
Forty- five minutes later, I was lying on the floor. It was quiet again; the cathartic experience the music instilled in me was slowly wearing off, but inspiration was growing, replacing the emptiness with faces, places, names, agony, bliss, plots involving incidents and maybe a happy ending. I smiled widely. It had worked; the music was like medicine for my soul.
I got up; my muscles aching with every move, but I had to get it down; the words were flowing fast now. What a miracle! Three weeks of plastic wrap covering my brain, shrinking it to pebble size, now ripping, as my brain re grew to its normal familiarity. I knew the sun was definitely around the corner.
I felt as though my laptop smiled at me as I sat down on the tan office chair in front of it. My face reflected on the black screen and I realised my hair was stuck to my sticky, sweaty cheeks. I pressed the power button and took off my sweater, wiping my face with it before I flung it on the back of the couch. My tee was drenched; I needed a shower, but getting these words out of my head and onto paper was my priority, my hygiene could wait.
The familiar melody sent a thrill through my blood stream as my laptop booted up; its beaming light welcomed me like a bear hug. Then, out of no where, his face suddenly appeared. My body jumped back a little as my thoughts resurfaced the image. I hadn’t seen it since disconnecting my wireless; but there it was radiating and handsome as if I saw him yesterday. Suddenly, all the memories of his face from the last year began zooming, flashing like a slide show. An entire month of resistance washed down the drain in a few seconds. This can’t be happening again. My fingers gripped the desk as I remembered. It was the day winter started, early November last year that it had spiralled out of control.
I was propped in front my computer, like I was right now, hoping to get a hint of inspiration to finish the highly anticipated children’s novel I always wanted to write, but the white page was saturated with the memory of his beautiful face. Why couldn’t I resist him? It was like an ultrasonic sound that only I could hear, it called out to me and I immediately raced to type his name into the Google tool bar. I wanted to know him, to look into his emerald eyes and tell him that I loved him; what! How could I love someone I didn’t even know? How was it possible for my heart to yearn for someone I never met? It’s simply not possible, it’s madness and should be illegal; but yet every time I closed my eyes his face was all I saw. His illuminating smile made me blush cherry red and giggle like a little school girl. His voice, the little I had heard of it in interviews I watched over and over, was an intoxicating drug and I felt entranced as though I was under hypnosis.
My eyes burned and I closed them, squeezing them tight trying to push his face to the back of my mind. My attempt was futile of course, I couldn’t be so lucky, and I was pulled into his trance again. I opened my eyes to see his modelesque face staring back at me.
The picture implanted in my brain, the one that was playing right now, was the last one I had seen of him. It was taken from a professional photo shoot; the scenery was breathtaking, almost desert-like. There were a couple of tall, mushroom-like trees that tented the heat emitting from the cloudless panoramic blue. The light from the afternoon sun dazzled behind him and highlighted the dirty blonde streaks in his golden brown hair. My heart ached; it was an exquisite pain of wanting someone so unattainable. The worse part of it was, I wasn’t the only girl feeling this way. Thousands of girls were crazy over him. They obsess and fantasise and scream his name when they see him. Every girl who was in love with him has probably done the same thing I am doing right now; gawking at his picture, hoping he’d jump out and become their everlasting love. Only in my case he’d have to jump out of my head. I smirked at the thought.
I shut my eyes again. I was not going to let the last three months ruin the progress I had made. My wireless was still disconnected, so I knew I could not be tempted again, letting his stupid, yes I said it stupid face distract me again. My stomach churned a little at my choice of words. I let out a sigh and opened my eyes. He was gone. My last thoughts were returning as fast as they had left. I glanced at the desk; my hands were still gripping it. I pulled them off and saw that my fingernails had dug shallow indents into the wood.
I swallowed hard and I concentrated on the screen. I doubled clicked on Microsoft Word and as the white page appeared, my fingers responded immediately; they moved lightning fast against the keyboard; I thought smoke would suddenly emerge from its vents. A frenzy had empowered me; it was like I was high from an immense dose of candy. I was not going to break, not even for a minute; I was not going to allow him to push his way back out from my sub conscious again.
Three hours and twelve scattered pages later, I had written the first chapter and the relatively important points of the plot. Most of what I had imagined was drained from my brain. I felt relieved and lighter, and in desperate need of a shower. I glanced at the clock, it was one am. My stomach growled as I saved my work and made my way to the bathroom. I had forgotten to eat in the middle of my quandary. I’d eat something light before I go to bed, remembering my mother’s words as I stepped into the shower, ‘Never eat a full meal before bed or it’ll haunt you in your dreams.’
The hot water felt as revitalizing as the sun’s heat. I soaked my hair in the cascade of warmth and lathered a sizeable amount of my shampoo, washing out all the traces of sweat; the lavender scent was therapeutic and I felt instantly relaxed. I let the water run down my neck and my back, releasing all the knotted muscles and tension from the prolonged sitting. The hot water ran lukewarm now, the time elapsed longer than I’d expected. I sighed and turned off the shower and got out.
I roughly dried my hair, scrunching the ends, soaking my towel with the water. Tiredness was overpowering me now; I quickly finished drying off and hustled through the door and into my bedroom for something, anything to wear. The light was off so I searched blindly through my pyjama draw. My hands grabbed a handful of cotton and I hurriedly tried to find the neck hole of one of the pieces.
When I was finished, I quickly combed through the knots in my hair and made my way out into the hall and to the kitchen. My pink and white spaghetti strap pyjama was clearly a wrong choice as I shivered when I reached to open the faucet to fill water into the electric kettle. I would have to double up on blankets tonight.
My eyes searched the kitchen for something to eat. I took my ‘Footprints in the Sand’ cup out of the cupboard and placed a tea bag into it. It was my favourite cup; my aunt had given it to me for my fifteenth birthday. The footprints were faded now, but I still drank my tea in it as I always did since I got it. I went to the fridge for the milk and my eyes caught the chive and onion cream cheese spread; that’s light right. I took it out and I glanced to the counter ensuring myself that the whole wheat bread was still there.
I plugged in the toaster and placed two slices in the slits. I made my tea while I waited; always two sugars and a dash of milk. A couple minutes later, the bread popped up, making me flinch at the sound; I was such a wimp, I always jump at every little ordinary thing; I was definitely my mother’s daughter. I spread a light layer of the cream cheese on each slice, and then sat at the small round table in the centre of the kitchen to eat my pitiful, late dinner.
Fifteen minutes later I was full enough that my stomach didn’t bother me anymore, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I’m not a breakfast person, but pancakes did sound good for the morning, well for later actually. I cleaned up making sure everything was back in its place, and after brushing my teeth, I grabbed an extra blanket out of the linen cupboard and, drugged with sleepiness, I dragged my feet to my boudoir, locking the door behind me. I snuggled under the thick duvet covers; my mind was at ease now, ready for a restful night, and somehow knowing that, his angelic face resurfaced again.
Oh,” I groaned. I want to sleep. But his face was peaceful, calming; his eyes delicate like a soothing lullaby. I smiled as I understood; he wasn’t there to haunt me but to induce comfort. My body felt heavy and drifted quickly into unconsciousness.