WRITTEN BY JULIE GOODALL
It’s totally shallow, I know. I shouldn’t really be pleased that I get wolf-whistled when I leave the house for work in the mornings, but I have to admit that it is quite a nice way to start the day.
Of course, I imagined the perpetrator in the flat opposite to be the stereotypical builder type so I was very pleasantly surprised when the owner eventually made himself known.
Possibly in his thirties, suited up and carrying a Starbucks mug, he looked pretty fit standing on that balcony.
I glanced across, trying not to seem obvious, but he caught my eye for a split second, nodded slowly, and smiled.
It was odd how my mouth refused to smile back. It had sort of frozen on my face, but conversely my cheeks felt like they’d spent three weeks in Jamaica without suncream.
I managed a slight nod and rounded my car to the driver’s door.
It was over a week before I saw anyone at the flat again. The patio doors were always open, but there seemed little sign of life.
Then, on Saturday afternoon, I saw a glamorous female on the balcony.
I stood at my sink, shocked, wondering if the poor woman had any idea about her philandering partner. Was she around when he flirted so outrageously with me?
The question of course was, should I tell her?
Suddenly, the idea of this guy paying me daily attention sent a cold shiver down my spine. He must be a creep to treat this woman like that.
I decided I would wait until I saw her again.
I was weeding my drive when I looked up to see the woman from opposite approaching, carrying something awkward, shifting it from hand to hand.
Now! I told myself firmly, dumping my trowel and rising to my feet. The whistles had become no less frequent. This woman deserved to know the truth.
“Hi!” I said, making my way towards her, but was stopped in my tracks by a piercing whistle.
At such close range, it was deafening.
She lifted a cloth covering a cage.
“Henry!” she admonished, placing the cage onto the back seat. “I’m so sorry. He’s a nightmare! I’m off to Spain tomorrow and I’m dropping him at my sister’s. To be honest, I’m looking forward to the peace!
“Even covering him up doesn’t stop him. I do hope he doesn’t disturb you.”
I stared at the parrot for a moment, a grin spreading over my soil-streaked face.
“Not at all. I think he’s rather entertaining.” I smiled. “I hope you both have a wonderful time.”
“Both? Oh, Matt, you mean? No, Matt’s a work colleague. He’s just letting me stay for a while, but he can’t look after Henry when I’m away as he mostly works up country during the week.”
So that’s why I didn’t see him too often. And he wasn’t the phantom whistler!
Suddenly the nod and small smile seemed a lot less creepy.
“Well, when you come back,” I said, “you must both come over for a barbecue.”
The woman laughed aloud.
“Matt would like that. He’s been trying to think of a way to talk to you for some time.”
“Talk to me?” I glanced at the flat, worried that he might hear us.
“He’s lived here six months. Not exactly a fast worker!”
She laughed again, a sweet tinkling laugh, and I really warmed to her.
“I’m Ella, by the way.” I wiped my hand and offered it.
“Kelly. Nice to meet you.” She smiled and I returned it twofold.
“Kelly. I have an idea…”
Ah. You must be Matt?”
I gestured him into the hall. He was even taller than he’d looked on the balcony.
“It’s so good of you to come over to tell me how to look after Henry here. Poor Kelly. Fancy her sister letting her down at the last minute like that!”
“I know. She’s usually so reliable.”
I smothered a secretive smirk.
“I thought he’d be best in here as he seems to like company.”
As we entered the lounge, a wolf-whistle pierced the air.
“Wish I could whistle like that,” Matt confided.
“You’re more than welcome to a cuppa,” I offered. “There must be lots to say about looking after a parrot.”
Matt gave me a shy smile.
He didn’t seem to mind at all being caught like a bird in a cage.