My London flat is just opposite the Mecca of my life – the library. As a data analyst, you’d think I’d want to work for NASA someday, but not true...oh no... my dream is to work at a library, read books all day, and occasionally make tea and coffee for my fellow librarians. I don’t care how little money is involved, I just love books. So, since moving in next to one I’ve lived a very content and happy little life – wearing sundresses on the weekends, visiting coffee shops with my rented books, exploring Highgate Cemetery (from the outside – I’m too scared to go in alone). It’s been... well... magical – for lack of a better word.
When I moved here I somehow imagined that I’d live next door to one of the Osbournes or possibly a little old lady (who looked alarmingly like the Queen) who would help me perfect my stitching. What I discovered is that I live next to a gay actor with a midnight DIY fetish, a chubby Irish/American social worker, and a man named Mr. Onions who has exceptionally large hands (or so they say) but doesn’t do any gardening.
The funny thing is that even though I live on my own in a small studio, it doesn’t feel lonely. At times I can hear the gay actor -Steve is his name – belting out Adele and I imagine he’s cooking Bolognese for one. Or sometimes I can hear Mr. Onions pacing across the floor above me and I imagine he’s writing a novel and has a bit of writer’s block. Of course, since I haven’t seen him, I imagine he is dashing and a bit scruffy from putting his hands through his hair a lot.
I spent most of the Winter evenings I was at home creating little stories for my neighbours even though I hardly knew them. It seemed to pass the time better than watching TV, but after March, my interest in them started wearing off.
As soon as Spring weather hit I started checking out the back garden to see how much work needed done. The place was in need of some TLC after all the snow and frost we got over winter. The dirt needed tilled, the lawn planted, and the flower and vegetable beds needed attention. Plus, there was a gigantic pile of bricks that I had no idea what to do with. So one Saturday afternoon I rolled up my sleeves, threw on my scrubby jeans and started digging away at the earth.
I was surprised to see I’d been working for four hours without stopping and now my back was killing me. I turned dirt over the last row of carrots and sat back on my knees, stretched my aching back and wiped sweat off my face with my dirty glove.
Behind me I could hear the next door neighbour’s back garden door open so I called a friendly hello over my shoulder.
“G’day,” bellowed out a deep Australian male voice.
“AH,” I screamed and jumped a bit. I turned around quickly – still on all fours and covered in dirt.
My jaw literally dropped.
Standing just five feet from me towered a blond, tanned, ripped, blue-eyed gift to women across England. He was wearing a pair of silky jogging shorts and football boots. I couldn’t help myself and gave him the complete elevator eye, then shut my mouth, laughed a little embarrassingly, then said, “I’m sorry, I was expecting Christina, my neighbour.?”
“No, my bad, I didn’t mean to scare you. Hi, I’m Daniel, you must be Josie. Nice to meet you.” He took a step closer and offered his hand.
I staggered to my feet and tried to fix my hair a bit before throwing off my dirty gardening glove and shaking his hand. “Yes, Josie. To my friends, I’m Jo” I smiled. This must be the pacing Mr. Onions... sooo... not the writer I imagined. “I live just next door. There,” I pointed to my flat even though it was obvious since it was the only other flat that had access. “It’s very nice to meet you too. So you have back garden access as well? Maybe I should have asked everyone before deciding to completely revamp the landscape.”
It was hard to listen to him whilst he was nearly naked, but he had amazing eye contact and I could see his lips moving so I just nodded my head and tried to get the last clump of dirt off my jeans.
“...it’s fine. The garden has been in need of an able hand for years. We’re glad you moved in and have gotten it started. Let us know if you want a helping hand.”
Hmm, ‘us’ he says.
“Oh, I will,” I said still smiling. “So, you live in flat three? upstairs?”
“Oh, no. No, haha. I live with Christina. I’m her boyfriend. I’ve not been around much because I’ve been modelling in South Africa.”
My jaw dropped again, but I caught it before I looked ridiculous. The chubby social worker is dating a model?! My life sucks.
Gutted. Well that figures. I guess there’s always the elusive Mr. Onion to fantasize about.