Disclaimer: The song lyrics used below are property of Now Now (Formerly Now Now Every Children) from the song 'Neighbours'. I do not own them.
How you miss the neighbours, standing in the front yard, telling all your secrets... like they were theirs to tell.
The twitch of the curtain isn't even the way to describe the neighbours – the curtain is always open. It's a surprise they even have curtains, due to the rarity that they close them.
They are old fashioned, dripping with flora that spill onto the carpet and the chairs and the cushions.
Their living room is all the same pattern – faded dandelions, blue violets and wallflowers repeated all over the room of faded living, because that's what it is, faded, except for the chair by the window. Glass frames with the faces of children who are gone away sit upon thin-legged tables and the cold mantelpiece.
The chair in the corner has white, brown and grey stripes with black edging around it. It's the only one that's not dripping with floral print or covered in fake, fancy lace that chokes and stifles the fabric.
Her slippers sit by the chair like always, like faithful spaniels waiting for her to return to her post.
His slippers sit by his chair and pipe with his glass that's never empty on the dark red table that's propped up by a dog-eared copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover, as one leg was always shorter than the other.
His chair is a faded blue with whisky stains from when he would shuffle forwards to tell her to get away from the window and stop being such a nosy old woman, chuckling and wheezing.
The chair where he would sit and remind her of how when he was a young man their flowers were fresh and their lives not so blue.
How, in their old garden at their old house when they were alone, the stems of their flowers would entwine and sway in the wind. Now his stem entwines with another, as does hers. His has caught a pretty blue eye, whereas hers is stifled by black roses and memories of a time once taken for granted.
The last cup of tea sits on the windowsill, crying brown tears as it drips onto the lilies, staining their white with their brown tears. The chip in the top he never could fix, and now it leaks, weeps. It's the cup that's almost empty, sitting next to his glass half-full. It's barely cold. If you didn't know you'd still think it was drinkable, salvageable. Over the rim past the peaceful brown waters you'd see a waiting room, the waiting room. Not exactly light but the way she'd like it.
But if you look over the rim of the teacup, past the peaceful brown waters, to the window, you might see not just yourself staring back. The faces of several strangers. The piercing blues and wrinkled noses, the squinting eyes and curious glances. The stares of strangers caught in the glass, staring in the waiting room that they always looked out of.
You shouldn't miss the neighbours.