The wild winds weep,
And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
And my griefs unfold.
From Mad Song by William Blake
Bored, the nestling looks about,
Adventure calls, and she leaps out.
On untrained wings she flutters down,
A spastic fledgling, faltering.
Too far from home, and on foul ground,
She shrinks from shadows all around.
Oh woe, the hasty choice she`s made.
Too late, she is awakening.
A shocking truth, Reality.
She fights to keep her dignity.
I knew I must have the wrong address. He was absolutely stunning. My heart fluttered and thudded frantically. Heat rose to my face. I ducked my head in embarrassment, but couldn’t keep my eyes off him.
I glanced at the scrap of paper in my hand—Single girl looking for roommate to share expenses. Call Monique. 604-483-5866
The guy who opened the door to the ground level basement suite was serious model material. Lean, broad shoulders, tight jeans, red plaid shirt—the healthy, outdoorsy type. His dark brown hair stuck up in spiky tufts when he took off his cap to greet me.
“Hello. Ah … er … Is Monique here?” I rechecked the address I had scribbled down when I talked to Monique on the phone. “Maybe I have the wrong place?” I backed up a step or two, looking for the house number again, unsure what to do next.
“Andrea?” he asked.
I nodded. “Do you live here?”
“Of course.” He looked puzzled by my question.
Three’s Company? What was I getting myself into? “Monique didn’t say there was another person sharing the suite.”
“No, dere isn’t. It will be just de two of us.”
“I don’t think so.” No matter how good looking he was, no matter how tempting he was, I wasn’t about to move in with a man I’d never met before. I turned to leave.
He reached for my hand and pumped it up and down. “I’m Monique.”
“You’re Monique?” I stood there with my mouth hanging open as a second surge of warmth crept up my neck to the roots of my hair.
“Don’t worry. It ’appen to me all de time. People t’ink I am a boy because of my short ’air and de way I dress.”
“I – I’m sorry. How stupid of me.” Relief—and disappointment—washed over me.
“Come in. ’Ave a look around and see if you like de place. You say you from Ontario?” I nodded. “Eh bien, we are almost neighbours den. I am from Québec.”
“Have you been in B.C. long?” I scanned the room behind her as we talked. The place looked clean and bright.
“About a year.”
“So what brought you here?”
“Why did you come ’ere?” She smiled as she threw the question back at me. “Probably de same reasons, eh? To be by de sea, to get away from de crowd, to be independent, to find romance, adventure? Am I close?”
“You’re right on.” We’d get along very well. “I like the place and if you like me, I like you.”
Monique smiled broadly displaying beautiful white teeth.
“So you would like to move in?”
“I think so. Yes. But, Monique, if I don’t find a job. You know … I explained on the phone I can only pay for a month or two if I don’t find work soon.”
“Dat’s no problem,” she said. “Dere is always work around ’ere in de tourist season and den after dat, we see.”
She sounded so sure of herself. I wished I had her confidence. It had taken every bit of courage I could muster to come out here by myself.
“It’s too far. Won’t you change your mind?” My mother had clung to me, her face wet with tears. I almost changed my mind right then.
My dad shook his head. “I don’t suppose there’s any way we can convince you to stay? I hope you won’t regret it. You’re too stubborn for your own good.”
I had put on a brave face and said something clichéd, like “I’ll email you,” but I had no idea if I’d even have access to a computer in Lund. It looked like a small place when I had chosen it at random on the map. As it turned out, I was right. It was a very small hamlet over four thousand kilometers from home.
No job, only $800 in my purse, no family, no friends—and now this gorgeous hunk of a man turns out to be a woman.
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