The sun flowed beautifully through the large windows. The kitchen countertops were grey marble and the cupboards white. The oak hardwood floor was perfect. The bathroom had a rain shower.
It all felt too good to be true. And something in me said it must be. I was really uncertain about us getting this apartment, but Andy was so excited. I had no real reason to be against it, so I said nothing, and we rented it.
We signed the contract 2 weeks ago and it was finally time to move in. Andy unlocked the door and we stepped in. I had almost forgotten how beautiful the apartment was. All of it bathed in the evening sunlight. I had no choice but to let my stupid doubts drain away and I smiled wide. Andy smiled brightly too and said:
“Can you believe this? And for the price we’re paying!”
I was taking off my shoes as I felt a cold breeze. Huh, they must have left a window open. But when I walked around the apartment I saw that all of the windows were closed. I must have imagined it.
We unpacked just enough of our things to be able to cook dinner and have a movie night. As the sun set, the room turned red. When the pizza was in the oven, we put on some slow music, danced, and ended up kissing on the sofa. We were interrupted by the timer ringing. Andy reminded me about the fact that I had thought a timer would be unnecessary, and I giggled. We watched Titanic. Andy cracked a lot of jokes during the first half, I cried during the second.
Our first evening in this apartment was wonderful. But as I laid in bed, Andy fast asleep, the uncertainty crept in. I still had no real reason. On paper, it was the perfect apartment. We had been looking for a while, all the other apartments had just felt temporary, even from the beginning. We had always kept looking for something else. This could be the place we could stay for a while, at least until we’d need something bigger. The neighbours were playing some children’s music. But why did I hear it so clearly?
The next morning, Andy left for work. I had taken a few extra days off to unpack and get settled in. As I was making some scrambled eggs for breakfast, I noticed a yellow crayon on the floor. Huh, that was really strange. How had we not noticed it yesterday? How had no-one else seen it? It was just laying there, on the floor. When I bent down to pick it up, I saw a second crayon, a dark green one, a few meters away. I got goosebumps. I walked towards it slowly. I wasn’t one to believe in stuff like this, the weird stuff you know. But there was no explanation. That sentence kept repeating in my head. There’s no way both of these crayons were here yesterday. My brain tried to process this, but it failed. The sun had risen above the building next to ours and the morning light shone in. The white of the apartment shone back. It was too white, too shiny, too new. I turned my focus back on the green crayon. You really can’t control your thought process with stuff like this. One part of my brain got stuck because it found no realistic explanation. The other part was trying to find the unrealistic explanation. That part noticed that the crayon was pointing towards the living room. That part remembered the couch. The couch was left here by the old owners. We had decided to keep it because our old couch was, well, old.
The next moment, I stood in front of the couch, staring at the pink spiral back book, cushions scattered everywhere around me. The book had a picture of a grey kitten with a silver glitter crown, and the cover was decorated with heart shaped gems. I opened it.
“This diary belongs to Daisy Wilson”
The text was written in childish handwriting and with dark purple, glittery ink. I flipped to the next page.
“August 27th 2018
Today was my first day of first grade. My teacher’s name is Mrs Roberts, and she seems really nice. I played with Maria and Brooke during the first break. They like little pet shop too, and had brought a few of theirs to school, so we played with them. I think we’ll be good friends. Caleb was mean, he went before us in line at the cafeteria. I do not like him. Mrs Roberts said that we can bring our favourite book to school tomorrow. I don’t know how I’ll be able to decide. I like so many books.”
I stopped reading and flipped the pages. It was written in about halfway through. I skipped to the last entry.
“June 11th 2019
Dear diary, tomorrow is my 8th birthday. I’m so excited. I had wished for a lot of new crayons from my parents. I really want to be a famous artist one day. Or an author. Or maybe a vet. Doesn’t matter, I have a lot of time to decide. I usually get my presents in the morning, which is good, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to think about anything else during the day. And cake is for the evening, when my grandparents come. My mum asked yesterday what kind of cake I want, and I said chocolate with strawberry cream. It’s my favourite kind of cake. But I have to sleep now, before my parents notice that I’m still up. Good night, dear diary.”
The date was one year ago yesterday. I stood there for a moment, shocked, with the diary in my hand. I then put it down determinedly, went to grab my purse, wallet and keys, and ran through the door.
I bought sugar, flour, butter, eggs, cocoa powder, whipped cream and strawberries. I couldn’t find the cake tin in the boxes, so I had to go with cupcakes. Cake is cake, right?
After 1,5 hours, I looked back at my work. Delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with strawberry whipped cream. But I had no candles! I turned around frantically, and stopped when I saw an open drawer. In it was an unopened pack of colorful birthday candles. I stuck a candle on one of the cupcakes and lit it. I stepped away and waited. The candle was blown out.