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Mermaids and Cowboys

“There are three kinds of people that are impossible to interview,” she said. “Soldiers, engineers, and cowboys. They don’t like to talk about themselves.” She looked like Audrey Hepburn and she sparkled with style and enthusiasm. It was her who showed me the abandoned car, the decaying Austin Healey in the yard of an old house. I felt like I’d stepped into a movie. There are people who carry that kind of magic.

I’d driven to the Island to look at houses, particularly one, which seemed to be a sensible option. I wanted to see what the neighborhood felt like, especially at night. That was all very useful, but I walked away feeling somewhat defeated. Are there no peaceful places left, places without noisy neighbors playing music loudly and dogs tied up outside to bark their little lungs out?

It didn’t matter though. It was all as good as forgotten when I met my friend’s new girlfriend and realized that she is oh-so-fun. After a long walk on the beach I took her to the house I’d been eyeing. We snuck into the yard. The noisy neighbor seemed to have gone to bed. The stars were shining bright. I was charmed. “It’s adequate,” she said. “But if you’re not in a hurry, I’d wait.”

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