This week, Chuck gave us two words: New Life. Well, he said to use it in any way we wished. I'm looking at getting a new life away from where I'm currently living - a horrible little place - and so this is dream of mine.
Birds woke her before the alarm – before the sun filtered through the blinds of the far window. Those birds were hanging around and upside down in the tree outside with the bright red blossoms having the most wonderful time eating breakfast as the sun broke the horizon.
Anna opened her eyes slowly, breathing slowly in the safe and warm cocoon of her bed.
The silence was wonderfully appealing to her right now.
And the birds screeching at each other – fighting for food – was the most lovely thing to hear.
Her alarm’s chiming began and her hand snaked out from under the covers, opened the cover of her phone, and dismissed it. Pushing back the covers, she grabbed her brunch coat, pulled it on and walked to the window slowly.
“Well, this is my home now... what a place.” She whispered against the glass taking in the gorgeous green views which were now her garden outside. Her phoned chimed a reminder for her to take the last of the keys to her old townhouse at Woodridge, and she cringed; did she really need to go back there? Couldn’t she stay here forever? Sighing, she put her phone on the bedside table and walked to the large wardrobe, opened it and decided it was a good day for a lovely summer dress.
Returning to the townhouse complex was a complete shocker after a month being at her new house on the other side of town, on her own block of land, with her own driveway, a lock-up garage and her very own letterbox. It was such a difference to everything that was so, well, dingy here in such a smaller place.
She pulled up to the key pad and swiped her card for the last time. The car gate opened slowly and she put the car into a lower gear so she couldn’t speed around the place. And as she drove around to the back of the place and parked in the empty car park, she noticed one thing about it all – she’d been gone for a month and nothing had changed.
The Body Corporate gardens were still overgrown.
The garden she had done up out the front was still the same.
The side fence still hadn’t been joined up to the boundary fence.
And there was a van in the driveway of townhouse/unit. Cleaners. Anna walked up to the front door, which was wide open, and knocked on the door, “Hello?”
The real estate agent turned, “Hey, Anna. So good to see you again. The cleaners were here when we arrived.”
“Oh that’s good. The place looks so ... empty.” She smiled.
“Hey that print of Dalmatians, was that yours?” he pointed to the old print up on the wall where the Wayne Clements paint had hung for so many years.
“No. That was here when I moved in. I stuck that in storage until I moved out, but the hooks have been replaced with new ones.” She smiled.
The buyers grinned, “Oh great! So, all the picture hooks are in studs and are solid?”
“Yep.” She nodded, “I made sure they’d be good ones and ready to use.”
The real estate agent walked to her, “They’re taking one last look before signing on the dotted line... oh, and the keys, have you got them?”
Anna pulled them out of her bag, “Here you go. And the gate card... and also you’re lucky ducks! I also have a remote control which opens that gate too.” She dug out of her bag the old remote, “I had the batteries replaced and have tried it out. So, no more getting your arm wet swiping the card.”
The new owners stared at her, “Woah! And how long were you here for before you got both of those?”
Blushing, Anna looked at the clunky old remote, turning it over in her hands: “Well, I kinda lied to a few people to get my hands on both of them... but I was here for over five years.” She finally handed it over to the real estate agent.
“Anything we need to know about this place?” the wife asked.
“Um... the range hood over the stove is only good for its light, not the fan. There’s a booster for the antenna over in the corner – please don’t turn that off or the next door neighbour doesn’t get television reception. And there’s a hook in the laundry for your dryer; we left it there from my last dryer.” She smiled, “Otherwise, um, the gate padlock key is the dull one, the ‘fuel’ key opens all the downstairs windows and the main side door sticks a little – but only when it’s gonna rain. And you can tell if it’s going to rain...”
“Spiders and roaches?” the wife asked.
“No... the stairs don’t creak.”
The husband looked around, “What about the flooding from the bathroom?”
“Oh that was before my time. But it shouldn’t do that anymore. I left plungers for both downstairs and upstairs for you... and the drains have a bad habit of smelling dreadful.”
“What about the lids out the back?” the wife asked, “We’ll just get them moved, right?”
“That’s the local council property. You can’t move them, or let anything grow over them. I lived here for over fifteen years and managed to live with them around me without a fuss.” She said, “Okay if there’s nothing else?”
The real estate agent gave the buyers a questioning look as they walked to the counter and signed on the dotted line, “Okay, Anna, you got more than what you asked for and the people knew about the ghost and are happy about how things have turned out.” He smiled, “I’ll get the paperwork to your Dad and you can go home.”
“Thank you so much for your time.”
“No, thank you.” The husband and wife both shook her hand and Anna walked out to her car, started it and drove out of the unit complex for the last time.
She was off to the other side of town to start her new life.
A life of no screaming children, a lovely green garden, of plentiful trees and birds... Anna had escaped the tiny townhouse and dreadfulness of the closed-in living to a house on a piece of land – sure she was sharing with her parents, but it was better than what she had before.
Before she was living in a prison – now her new life was quiet, beautiful and less stressful. Now, she could truly live her life the way she wanted.