Miss you stranger

Published September 2, 2005

Two doors down from us, there used to live a big-nosed man and his girlfriend. I don’t mean anything horrible by that, but I didn’t know his name and he had a big nose. Every morning I would hear them slam the door at 3 minutes to 8 precisely, then I would watch as they exited the building. I would be stood at the sink doing the washing up, and smile as I saw him back the car out of the car parking space, so that his girlfriend could get in. Then they would set off for their days at work. I would be concerned if she didn’t join him, worried in case she was off sick that day, hoping she was alright. I thought it was incredibly sweet when one day it was raining particularly hard and he backed the car right up to the door so she wouldn’t need to get wet.

Whenever I would leave the flat, no matter what time of day, I would always seem to bump into this big-nosed man. He would always smile and say hello, although I could tell he was just as embarrassed and shy about it as I was. There was never any conversation, but always a hello. One day I was taking the recycling outside, a big box of bottles and papers. I was struggling to hoist the box onto my hip so I could fumble with the lock and get the door open. The big-nosed guy was coming in from outside, and hurried to get his keys out to open the door for me.

They’ve moved out. I tried to convince myself that they were just on holiday, but considering the evidence (their car has been missing for two weeks and there was a big removals van around at some point, plus there’s a suspicious smell of paint in the hallways) I find it hard to keep up the pretence. I know it’s weird because I didn’t know his name and the only way I knew them was by watching them depart for work every day, but I miss him.

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