The Boy turned up again two days later, much to my delighted surprise, this time arriving in a hotel-airport shuttle and carrying an ancient steamer trunk, which had to be either empty or full of throw-pillows by the way he carried it. He was dressed more expensively this time, as well, a dark cashmere turtleneck with artistically distressed jeans and Edwardian-style ankle boots, his long hair pinned up in a messy man-bun exposing more of his incredible bone-structure.
He's the new decorator, I surmised, bringing in another repurposed piece of battered jetsam to pose as a coffee-table. Or more likely a decorator's assistant, as he couldn't be old enough to be a professional decorator, or a professional anything yet — nineteen at a guess, though really he could be anywhere between fifteen and twenty-five, it's hard to tell with the waifish ones. But still as dazzling as last time, and I was so dazzled I forgot to take a picture.
My guess as to his role at the empty house was borne out when a large delivery truck pulled up, blocking the light in my window and the traffic on the narrow street. The Boy came out briefly to give the delivery men (not a looker among them, more's the pity) instructions but disappeared again before I could bestir myself to reach for the camera. I watched the delivery men for an hour or so as they unloaded brand new furniture and decorative objects into the house. It wasn't enough stuff to fill the house, and nothing else came out, so I had to assume that they were adding to rather than switching out.
When the truck left, it stayed quiet next door for a few hours, I suppose the Boy was arranging the new decor; but then another Lyft stopped outside, it's pink faux fur mustache glaring in the bright sunshine, and the Boy flashed across from the house to the car so fast I didn't even get a good look at him, much less snap a picture. I was extremely annoyed with myself for this failure to capture my fleeting wild creature on film, but hoped he'd return again— maybe next time with his employer, in a car with a logo on it that I could look up and track down online.
I built a fantasy where I could find out what firm he worked for, hire them to do some decorating in my house, and thereby have a chance to see him again, meet him and look at him up close. My fantasy didn't go beyond seeing him, though. My imagination is not strong enough to conjure up something as ridiculously unlikely as a friendship or flirtation developing with him. But just knowing his name and hearing his voice would keep me warm at night for a while.
Turning around in my desk chair, I examined my rooms to consider what I might have a decorator do to them. The long narrow living-room, or front parlor as I liked to think of it, was already perfect: plaster walls painted a warm creamy beige, the parquet floor mostly covered by an old Persian rug of muted browns and reds, overscaled leather couch and chairs that I'd bought to fit my overscaled frame and coordinating with the Chippendale-style antique reproductions from Grandmother's house, bookcases and side-tables and matching etagere and secretaire, all arranged with perfect symmetry. The desk I'd bought to fit into the bay window didn't match, being a modernist wood and steel thing from a kit, and the desk chair was a space-age monster that actively clashed with the room, but I liked them the way they were.
The dining-room/library could use some work, since I've never once eaten in there and the table has become a resting-place for heaps of books, giant art books and paperback novels and glossy magazines in teetering stacks, and I never sat in the leather wing chairs by the pretty cast iron fireplace. But I couldn't imagine what else I could do with that room, aside from putting up more shelves for the books. It was just an extra distance on my way to the kitchen, and a place to set books down when I was done with them.
I couldn't really afford to redecorate, anyway: I've got enough money that I don't have to worry about it, but not enough that I can throw it around willy-nilly. When my parents died, less than a year apart, I inherited a trust fund made up of Mother's family money and Father's investments and share in his law firm, plus the sale of our house; it paid a quarterly income for my schooling and upkeep during my minority, and then a more substantial income when I turned twenty-one; and though I had full access to the trust after turning thirty-five, I never bothered the capital and just kept on drawing the income—not an extravagant sum, just enough that I never had to work for a living. I did work, all through my twenties and thirties, but at fairly low-paying administrative jobs at various nonprofits and charities…and I had no living expenses, since I stayed with Grandmother, so I never needed the capital.
When Grandmother died, I inherited her entire estate, but aside from the sale of her house, I didn't touch that capital either, just adding it to my own trust fund and letting it be. The thing with trust annuities is they don't always keep up with inflation, and tend to suffer from market losses. Two recessions and a couple of Wall Street panics in my lifetime had resulted in an income that would have been a princely sum thirty years ago but was now just enough to live on comfortably. Any incursions on the capital would reduce the income further, and I was not willing to do that.