I casually walked up my neighbour’s path, finally prepared to introduce myself. It was rather daunting, as I had never been the one to introduce myself first. My other neighbours had been very willing to say “hello”.
This one…he seemed to prefer peace and quiet. Still, introducing myself couldn’t hurt.
I reached the door, grabbed the brass knocker and tapped twice. There was no answer for some time – not even a voice from inside – so I prepared to knock again, just in case he hadn’t heard. As I went to grab the knocker, however, the door suddenly opened.
‘Yes?’ said my neighbour.
I found myself suddenly voiceless for a moment. He filled the doorway, his black, pinstriped suit quite startling and his black hair rather dazzling. He had a sly yet welcoming grin on his face, and his brown, reddish eyes seemed to pierce me. Beyond him I saw no lights on, but a number of lit candles. ‘Uh…’
‘You must be from number 7,’ he said kindly with a distinctly upper-class accent. ‘Let me guess…come to introduce yourself?’
I found myself laughing nervously. ‘Yeah, exactly that,’ I replied. Feeling awkward for no apparent reason I cleared my throat. ‘The name’s Grant. Just thought I’d…you know…say hi. If you need anything, I’m always willing to lend a hand.’
My neighbour laughed. ‘A pleasure. I’m Stanley. If you ever need anything, come talk to me. I’m sure we can come to an agreement.’ He chuckled and turned into his house. ‘I would invite you in, but it’s a real mess still.’
I looked at the candles and fought away a curious expression. Stanley caught it, however.
‘Oh, those?’ he smiled. ‘I haven’t got my electricity on yet. The council is a bit slow, it seems.’
‘Oh, yes,’ I said. ‘I understand.’ I smiled awkwardly and absently looked behind me. ‘I’d probably best…best get home. I was just about to cook up some lunch.’
Stanley nodded. ‘I see. Well then, I won’t keep you. I look forward to the next time we meet.’ Before I could reply he closed the door.
I stood there for a moment, adjusting. Stanley seemed friendly. Mostly normal. But there was something about him that put me on edge, ever so slightly. Shaking my head I walked from his door and headed back down the path.
‘Finally introducing yourself to number 6, are you?’ a woman asked. I looked up to see Mrs. Johnson (the same Mrs. Johnson whose shed burnt down) walking her dog. The dog was staring past me towards the house, and seemed slightly spooked.
There was probably an odd shadow being cast by Stanley’s candles.
‘Yeah, I sure was,’ I replied. ‘He seems an alright kind of guy.’
Mrs. Johnson smiled at me. ‘I’m sure he does. I’ll probably drop in and say “hi” on my way back.’
I nodded at her. ‘Sounds good. Bye, Mrs. Johnson.’
She laughed. ‘How many times? Call me Sandra.’ She smiled at me and then continued her walk.
I sighed and returned home. I had lied about having lunch. I had just wanted an excuse to go back home. Once inside I threw off my shoes and went to the window. Looking across at Stanley’s house I wondered, once again, why someone as rich-looking and rich-sounding as him would want to live here.
Shrugging off the feeling I sat down on my settee and flipped on the TV.