Look at him! Look at him! Isn't he just glorious?
Lurking behind my curtain, I stare down into the communal garden below, feasting my eyes on the sight of my new upstairs neighbour, as he glides like a dark ghost through his slow Tai Chi ritual. He's tall. He's massive. Like a giant clad all in black ... and yet he's so light in the way he moves that he almost seems to float above the tiny patch of lawn.
His name is Nathaniel Gowen and he's just exactly what I need i.e. he's a big, beautiful, intelligent, grown-up man. He's the perfect antidote to Danny, my most recent ex, whose slavish devotion to his Playstation, Man U, and his latest ring-tone were quite endearing at first, but quickly degenerated to downright infantile.
Gilded by the lowering evening sunlight, Nathaniel Gowen's movements, down in the garden, are stylised and hypnotic. His feet are bare, with long toes that flex against the grass, and every now and again, he closes his eyes as if he's in ecstasy. I don't know how old he is, but he's a good deal older than I am, I guess. Mid forties, probably ... But he's in his prime and super-fit in every sense.
The building's rumour mill says that he's actually 'Doctor Gowen', a military historian, lecturer and analyst. But there's a presence about that imposing six feet plus physique of his that says he could well have been a serving soldier before he hit the books.
My stomach quivers and I crumple a fold of curtain in my sweaty fist. The pressure shoots a tiny niggle of discomfort through my wrist, but I ignore it. I'm too busy picturing Nathaniel Gowen as SAS, or a Marine, or some other Special Forces operative. Totally hardcore and ruthless. Unrelenting in his determination and driven by a sort of steely single-mindedness never goes away ... He might be a Tai Chi practising academic these days, but somewhere in the heart of him, he's still a deadly human warrior.
Even as I ogle him, he pauses, balanced on one leg without the slightest sign of effort, and cocks his close cropped greying head on one side. I retreat a step, full of the impression that he's listening to my thoughts.
But why would he be?
He's barely even noticed me around the building, as far as I know, and even if he has registered my existence on any meaningful level, he probably doesn't actually know which flat is mine. We've exchanged nothing more than an amiable "hello" or "lovely day" in passing, in the lobby or the laundry room. He's favoured me with a wide, white killer smile once or twice, but I seriously doubt that he even knows my name.
But I know yours, Doctor Nathaniel Gowen! And I want far more than just a gorgeous, but impersonal smile from you ... Far more ...