Although old and dilapidated, to me it was a mansion. Every day from the train on my way to work I saw the crooked fence, the old plum tree stretching its branches skyward and the faded For Sale sign on the gate.
I dreamed of buying the cottage; giving it the love it deserved and saved diligently towards a deposit. Beans on toast became my staple diet; extra sweaters instead of the heater, contented with yesterday’s fashions if it meant I could save more.
I imagined filling the garden with flowers, painting tired walls and fences and although I’d never seen inside, I pictured my modest furniture in the rooms.
Each day I gave a surreptitious wave from the carriage window and sensed it smiled back.
Then one morning, across the For Sale sign, a bright red SOLD sticker. I bit my lip lest tears fall. My dream, my cottage was gone.
Disappointed, I bought lunch instead of my usual sandwich in the park and when I saw a beautiful crimson angora jumper in the window of an exclusive boutique I bought it; what good had all my scrimping done?
But I couldn’t wear it. Each time I took it from the wardrobe I mourned my lost cottage. I changed my seat on the train to the other side where I wouldn’t have to see it.
I resumed saving though, albeit minus the joyful anticipation it once brought. Perhaps I’d find another cottage.
Weeks later I found the train almost full and sat in my old seat. I resolved not to look but with minds of their own, my eyes peeped out as the train rattled past. The cottage looked just as I’d last seen it, but the SOLD sticker had been peeled from the sign.
I waved. The house smiled back.
On a frosty morning two months later I finally held the keys in my hand. The cottage was mine. I wore my beautiful crimson sweater and stared in amazement at the old tree welcoming me with beautiful plum blossom.