I’d never experienced anything like this. Ever, in my life. I liked living life as it was, and as it was, it was alright. Sure, I was a relatively penniless artist, whose family didn’t much approve of him, but I had my little cottage in the woods, and I had a sense of freedom.
And yet, on impulse, I’d given it all up. I’d sold my cabin, and what a small cabin went for in my old town, I’d found a large and spacious flat in San Myshuno, the big city. It was a decision that I’d made after coming home. I just wasn’t as happy where I was, partially because my neighbours, few as they were, had still watched the show. I’d not done well, for the most part. I wasn’t athletic, I was more romantic than a woman like Princess Charlotte needed, and I couldn’t dance without embarrassing myself. I’d made a friend, but only one.
Laila, the old woman who lived nearby and would fetch things for me from the shops when I forgot, had stopped smiling at me, and simply shook her head in pity, or tried to ask me about the show. If Mark was as big a sweetheart as he seemed. It seemed cruel to say anything on the latter subject, but I found myself unable to answer those questions. They hurt to consider.
I wasn’t a sore loser, of course. It was more that I couldn’t take Laila suddenly treating me as an exhibit more than as a friend. And she wasn’t the only one. I heard whispers when I did remember to buy groceries, and found a plastic crown on my doorstep, probably from local teenagers. It made sense to move, although I could have addressed the problem.
I’d visited an artist friend, Serena, to get away and we went to visit a friend of hers, Salim, who rented an apartment in San Myshuno. It was Salim who mentioned that the flat opposite him was empty, and that was when inspiration hit. I took a leaflet from the noticeboard in the hallway before I left.
Turns out, the landlady had also watched the Royal Bachelorette, and agreed I could have the place quite quickly. It was the first time in weeks that the television appearance had worked in my favour.
And so I have my flat. Most importantly, the big but dingy second bedroom has become a new, spacious studio where I paint, most days.
There’s a lovely bathroom next door, as well as the ensuite in my room, too. In the cabin, I had a shower, and a bath is so much better, I think.
There’s a large living room, too, and the last owner apparently was a party animal, according to Salim, and left the bar behind. I bought some stools, but I’m not the best at mixing drinks, so at the moment, it’s just…there. I more bought the stools because the bar didn’t seem right without them.
The kitchen’s pretty tiny, too, but it reminds me of my old place, so I don’t actually mind – in fact, I rather like it, and now that the shops aren’t so far away and I’m not isolated, I remember to buy food far more often. I’m actually learning to cook properly, too.
I’ve also invested in a new table, which…doesn’t quite suite the chairs, but I don’t mind that, either. The chairs are more comfortable than most. Although being one person sat at a table with three empty chairs isn’t the best feeling in the world.
The study is where I’ve set up my computer, and where all my books now live. I know that I probably should have downsized, but…I really can’t. I’ve tried cutting down my books before, but I have too many good books to do it properly.
And of course, my room, with a closet that’s taller than I am, and a futon. Okay, a futon is…a futon, but I find them quite comfortable. You just can’t stand on them like you can with a bed, otherwise the slats break, and as I haven’t done that again after last time, it’s not an issue.
All in all, this flat is a gem. It’s the perfect place to paint, and there’s a really good energy about it, like good things are supposed to happen here. It’s far more relaxing than my cabin, even though that was my haven.
In fact, when I moved in, Salim came over, having invited a couple of friends along, and told me my new pad was ‘a little palace, man!’ He said it suited my vibe, and I’ve now been around enough people who talk like that to know what he meant.
Salim’s friends, Baako and Anaya, were kind souls, and surprisingly enough, parents, although their daughter was at an art class, so couldn’t make it. Baako is quite witty, and Anaya is also a painter, although she sings as well. She likes old-fashioned songs, and told me that if I’m ever free on a Friday, I’m to come down to the karaoke bar if I want to.
I would take her up on the offer, but I’m not a great crooner. However, I’m glad to have such kind neighbours, and I’m grateful to Salim for introducing me to them. They’re a lovely couple, and he’s a good guy.
I’m happy, where I am, something that surprises me. I wouldn’t have said I was a city dweller, but my view on the city may have been misjudged – or perhaps San Myshuno is just that special.