It all started with a glimpse in the cool evening in Hidden Springs. John Dee had only recently moved to the lovely Alpine town. He didn’t actually have a place to live but was in fact camping in a shabby old Fairy House on the edge of town with the Gypsies. That particular night he was hoping to sell some mushrooms and herbs he had harvested to the grocer when he noticed a man. Something about the man seemed so familiar as if he knew him from somewhere. But John Dee couldn’t place him. He entered the store and saw the man was posting a notice on the community bulletin board. John Dee sidled past him, glancing backwards to see the notice was in big letters and it read ‘Roommate Wanted.’ After he was sure the man had left, John Dee wrote the number down on his hand. He forgot all about selling his produce. All he could think about was this mystery man.
John Dee was rewarded when he called the number. The man, who introduced himself as Wil Hirsute, invited him to come to the house immediately. John was so excited at the prospect of meeting Wil, he arrived very early. He waited patiently at first and then found himself drawn to look in a window. He was startled by loud barks and suddenly three dogs made appearances, their paws against the glass panes. John backed away slowly and decided he would wait down by the mailbox. Just then he saw Wil drive up and John was relieved but more than a little nervous, though he wasn’t sure why. “He’s just a man,” John thought to himself. But as soon as they shook hands, John had the sense again that they had met before.
John was enamored with the little cottage Wil lived in. He was also pleased to see the room that would be his was completely furnished, for John had no furniture of his own. But what delighted and intrigued him was that in Wil’s backyard was a lovely little Fairy House, much nicer than the one he was staying in now. “That house was here when I moved in,” Wil explained. “Of course, I’ve never been inside but feel free to take a look around. The spare bedroom is for you, but do with this house whatever you see fit.” John hesitantly explained to Wil that he considered himself a Master Gardener and in fact, made a living either harvesting wild plants or growing his own when he had the opportunity. Wil made a broad sweep of one arm, gesturing to the enormity of his back yard. “You would be welcome to build a garden back here.” So it was quickly settled that John Dee would be Wil Hirsute’s new roommate. But how would John pay rent?
“The reason I need a roommate,” Wil explained, “is because I have three wonderful animal companions in my life. Bird Girl is the alpha of the pack, she is quiet but highly intelligent. Ivory Mae is still very much a puppy–a hellion really, she gets into everything. Toby, my little man, can be a little noisy. I love them all dearly but my work is so demanding, I cannot spend the time with them they need. I don’t need rent, I need a dogsitter. Do you like dogs?” John nodded yes, he did, for like most Fairies, he felt very much at one with all flora and fauna. Though it was easier to like them now, all fast asleep then when they were barking at him in the window. “I hope we will all get along,” he thought and he didn’t just mean the dogs.
John discovered very quickly after moving in that Wil had not been exaggerating when he described his time away from the house. Wil was an emergency room nurse and he worked long hours most days. His new roommate could see that Wil was a very hard worker who seemed to have time for little else than his medical duties.
When Wil was home, it was all he could do to eat quickly, shower and fall into bed. Work was such a huge part of his life that he often dreamed about the hospital. So when he woke up, he didn’t necessarily feel refreshed. John noticed right away that certain things in the house were neglected and he decided to take on the role of housekeeper and handyman to hopefully make Wil’s life easier.
Every morning after Wil left the house, John would enter his room and make his bed. The room was scented with citrus, Wil’s fragrance of choice and John found it pleasing. In fact, he found everything about Wil very pleasing. He seemed a gentle soul and a kind person. But John felt bad that Wil worked so much and never seemed to have time to relax. John wondered what he could do to change that fact.
John was indeed very talented with tools so he went out of his way to find things that needed repairing or sprucing up in the house. Wil didn’t always notice John’s handiwork but it did not take away from John’s sense of accomplishment. “It’s one less thing for him to have to worry about it and that makes me happy,” thought John.
Meanwhile, John’s new garden was coming along nicely. He spent most of his days in the backyard, where the dogs ran free, reigned in only by a tall wooden fence. They played joyfully and John was joyful, too for they had adapted to him quickly and treated him like one of their pack.
As the seasons turned, John’s garden flourished, so much so that soon he had plenty of fresh produce to see to the grocer. He became a familiar face there, his arms full of the freshest fruits and vegetables, pungent mushrooms and tasty herbs. He could not get home fast enough to share his bounty with his roommate.
The money he made he spent on more seeds and treats for the pups and occasionally a book that helped him enhance his gardening skills. The rest he used to buy food for the home. John was determined to become a better cook, hopefully as good as Wil. For when Wil wasn’t too tired from work, he could quickly whip up a gourmet meal that they both enjoyed immensely. But that was rare for Wil was generally too exhausted from serving the sick.
John’s initial efforts were relatively simple. He was able to make things in the microwave, such as hot dogs and TV dinners.
Wil was so grateful to have hot food waiting for him, he never complained about John’s basic meals.
Sometimes, after John had finished all the gardening and keeping up the house, he found himself drawn to the stereo where he would dance and dance or he would play with his reflection in the mirror, making silly faces. John could have fun anytime, anywhere, it was simply his carefree nature that allowed him to relax and let go. He was determined to share the good times with Wil but he didn’t know where to start.
At last John cornered Wil and pleaded with him to join John for a night at the Harvest festival. It was very crowded, so much so that they couldn’t even find a place to sit together to enjoy their plates of hot wings. John watched Wil engage in conversation with another man and he felt an unknown pang in his heart. John wanted to be the one to make Wil smile and laugh away from work but he didn’t know why that desire was so strong. “Well, at least Wil is having a good time for a change,” John thought but he looked around the festival grounds carefully, trying to find something they could do together.
Apple bobbing was just the thing! Though John had no idea how competitive Wil was. The bell rang and John gingerly put his face in the cold water, feeling around with his lips and teeth, hoping to grasp an apple with his mouth and fling it out of the tub onto the grass. When the bell rang again, he realized he had not gotten a single apple. But next to Wil was a enormous pile of apples, shiny and wet, each with a perfect bite mark in them. “Can you bake an apple pie?” asked Wil, who seemed very pleased with himself. “I can certainly try!” John answered enthusiastically for he could see his plan had worked, Wil was having a good time.
They drove home, chatting all the way, talking about the Harvest Festival and also Spooky Day which was tomorrow. They discovered it was each other’s favorite holiday and Wil declared his favorite part about that day was dressing in a costume. John agreed though he reluctantly added he had nothing to wear as a costume. “We’ll see getting you something fun,” Wil said and John felt warm inside, knowing his roommate cared about him.
The next day, Spooky Day, John was quick to finish all his tasks in the garden and all his chores in the house. He was anticipating a little party he was setting up. It would just be Wil and him and the dogs but he was excited because he had indeed baked a luscious apple pie. He wondered about a costume. What did Wil have in mind? He took a seat in the rocking chair in his roommate’s room and rocked steadily waiting for his arrival. And waited. And waited. For he found he did not want to do anything else. “But why?” John thought. “This has become my favorite part of the day.”
For like the dogs, who became restless in the afternoon as they knew the time was nigh for the master to return, John felt equally restless. And when the dogs jumped up to the window and began wagging their tails in excitement upon hearing Wil’s car in the driveway, John felt equal excitement and found himself smiling uncontrollably.
When Wil walked in the house, John was confused for a moment. For Wil was decked out as a Master Chef, replete with a special chef’s hat and a medal that seemed to indicate culinary excellence around his neck. Then John remembered he was in costume for Spooky Day and his joy wilted a bit for he still had no costume. “You look great,” John enthused. “But I feel silly, I am just in regular clothes.” Wil grinned at him. “Not for long. I wil lay your costume out on the bed, I hope you will like it.”
When John emerged from his bedroom, he was a little uncertain. “How do I look?” Wil clapped his hands in delight. “Like a real surgeon.” John laughed and he felt more at ease in the costume. “The only thing I want to cut on is this pie,” he replied and produced the beautiful dessert he had so lovingly made. “What do you think?”
What happened at that moment came as a surprise to both of them. It happened quickly and passionately and in a heartbeat it became clear that John and Wil were no longer just roommates. John finally realized why he anticipated Wil’s arrival from work, and why John wanted to make Wil’s life easier and to make Wil happy. For John was in love with Wil. Which can happen when two friends become very, very close.
That night, after they had their fill of dinner and dessert and the dogs had been fed and let out for the last time, John changed into his pajamas and headed towards his room. But Wil stopped him. “I wish you would stay with me, “ he said to John in a quiet voice. John could only nod for his heart was about to burst and he found he could not speak. He thought back about his initial feeling of having known Wil somehow from somewhere. Now it made sense to him, for Wil was his destiny and that is often how people feel when love is meant to be.
That night both John and Wil slept in Wil’s bed. Wearying visions of the hospital and work fled Wil’s dreams for what was missing was a companion, someone with whom he could feel at peace, someone who could take his mind off the great responsibilities that filled his days. John was just happy that at last he understood why Wil was so important to him and he slept deeply, dreaming only of their days ahead together as loving friends.