After searching for some weeks
, she found the perfect apartment. It was a beautiful old stonework
construction six floors tall all around. But on each of the four corners
, towers rose two stories higher. Her apartment was a simple one-bedroom with a spacious living room
and a small kitchen and bathroom. The rooms were oddly shaped, being in a quasi-circular tower, but she loved it. It felt to her like she was living in a castle
. To finish the wonderful feel of the place, there were large windows
all about the place, giving her a view of the bay
in the distance, and lush shining hardwood
floors in the bedroom and living room.
When she moved into her new apartment, on the eighth floor of the regal building, she found the former owner had left behind some cleaning supplies. Broom, floor mop, bucket, plunger, grout cleaner, Lysol and the like. And in the pile, a dust mop. That alone somehow made the place seem special.
She'd used all the other tools before, of course, for many grow up doing household chores. But she was on her own for the very first time, had her own place in a brand new city, and she had a new, fanciful cleaning tool to go with it. A dust mop seemed almost whimsy in an era that people swept the floor with a broom or cleaned it not at all as it seemed more often to be. She supposed it made more sense to have a dust mop than anything else, though, because most of her cleaning would be limited to the shining hardwood floors in the place. The kitchen and the bathroom, tiled, would be mopped, but nowhere else needed it, and it seemed a shame to sweep those floors that the dust mop would glide so beautifully over.
It was actually fun to dust the floors this way. The mop just flew along the wood, sleek and smooth. It was like dancing, the mop as her partner. She started singing as she dusted, her whimsy letting her pretend she was Rapunzel trapped up in her high tower alone, or Snow White doing her cleaning while waiting for her Prince, or Cinderella dancing with her Prince that one night at the ball that she could be beautiful. She mopped, probably, more than she needed to.
She had never been very social, never been good at all at meeting people. She went to work during the day and came immediately home to read or watch TV or even mop, but she never went out. The city seemed huge and unfriendly, and even colder and harsher as the winter set in. She stayed holed up in her castle-tower-fortress, and she was happy. She sometimes yearned to meet people and find a place to belong, but it was cozy there, and that could wait. Better be comfortably alone than with others and awkward or unwanted.
One day, there was a knock on her door. A young man, fidgeting nervously, stuck out his hand. "...hello? You don't know me, but... well... I live in the tower across the way" he pointed "and many days I’ve seen your shadow gliding across the place and heard you singing so sweetly. At first I thought maybe you were playing records or something, but the voice has always been the same no matter what the song. And I thought... well... I needed to meet whosever sung so sweetly. It's cheered many days for me. I sometimes feel trapped in that spire, and the songs let me fly free...." He turned bright red and stammered to a stop. "...I'm sorry... that sounds so cliché, I know, but... sometimes clichés are true, I guess."
Sometimes, in their greying tower alone on the sea
, cleaning up after their dinner parties, and later still their children
and their children's friends and birthday parties became too much work and threatened to wear her down
. When this was the case, he'd put the kids to bed, carry all the uncleaned mess into the kitchen, to be addressed
later, and she'd dance-dust
the floor and sing
, he sitting quietly to watch, sometimes for hours, and after that things seemed manageable again and eventually the chores got themselves done like magic