Where Love Actually Lives
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Where Love Actually Lives


Love arrives in all shapes and forms, and
it comes to everybody one way or another. Look at this building. Every window tells a story, and each one is
unique. Who will love find today? Let’s have a peek, shall we?… Alice is a student. She lives in a small studio on the second
floor, and her only company is her cat, Smokey. He sometimes goes for a walk, softly jumping
out the window to the canopy over the shop on the first floor. Alice isn’t worried: she knows Smokey will
come back… he always does. She thinks he’s going hunting or just stretching
his legs, and sometimes that’s the case. But there’s more to his walks than that. Alice has just made dinner for herself and
her cat. Before sitting down to her studies, she looks
out the window. Smokey’s nowhere to be seen. He’s been away for longer than usual, and
she’s starting to get worried. Thoughtful, she sits down at her desk and
suddenly hears a scratching noise and a soft meowing from outside the window. She looks out again and sees Smokey — but
he’s not alone. He’s holding a tiny kitten in his mouth. And behind him, a pretty orange tabby is holding
a second. Smokey looks up at Alice and makes another
muffled meow. Alice can’t help but laugh and happily lets
the furry family in. How can she resist? Now she’s got four cats, it seems. ***
Richard lives alone in his apartment on the third floor. He’s old now, much too old to go out often,
so he spends most of his time sitting at the window and looking at the busy street below. He remembers the days when he was young and
full of life too. Now his beloved wife is gone, and their kids
have grown and moved out of town. Richard sometimes feels lonely, but he doesn’t
mind — he’s lived a good life, and he’s glad his kids and grandkids are happy and
healthy. The doorbell startles him — he wasn’t
expecting guests today. He slowly shuffles to the door and looks out
the peephole. It’s the mail carrier. Richard opens, and the man hands him a small
package. He has no idea what’s inside, but he signs
off anyway, shuts the door, and goes to the living room. He knifes open the parcel and sees a wooden
box inside. Richard recognizes the thing immediately — it
was a gift his late wife Martha had given him for their 20th anniversary: a pocket watch
with her portrait under the lid. He’d thought it was lost. With trembling hands, Richard opens the box
and sees the watch and a letter… “Hey Dad, We moved again, and I found this
in one of the boxes. I thought Mom would’ve liked you to have
it. Don’t lose it again, okay? Love, Harry.” Richard turns over the sheet of paper and
smiles. Tears run down his cheeks as he reads the
other side: “P.S., We’ll be over in the first week of March. It’s your birthday, after all!” ***
Anne’s been worried sick for the last few weeks. Sam’s never worked so hard before — recently
he’s taken to staying late hours at the office, while she’s all alone in their apartment
on the fourth floor. Today isn’t an exception. She ordered a dinner from Sam’s favorite
restaurant, but it’s gone cold, and all she got was a text: “Sorry, Annie Mouse,
be late 2nite again.” Anne’s hope that he’d come home earlier
for Valentine’s was in vain. Now she’s trying to read a book but can’t
focus, so she turns off the lights and goes to bed. Anne’s fast asleep when the key turns in
the lock and Sam comes in. He’s very quiet, sliding his shoes and jacket
off right on the doorstep. He tiptoes to Anne’s bedside, sits on the
edge, and gingerly caresses her hair. She wakes up and looks at him. “Hey,” she says groggily. “Hey yourself,” Sam replies, looking guilty. Anne feels something’s wrong with him. She sits up in bed, looks at him intently,
and says, “You’re breaking up with me, aren’t you?” Sam opens his mouth, dazzled, and suddenly
bursts out in laughter. Anne’s confused. And then Sam produces something from his shirt
pocket. “It’s for you. Open it.” He hands her a little wooden box. She lifts the lid, and her eyes get huge. “Is this… why you’ve been working so
much lately?” she asks. “Yes,” Sam replies and gets down on one
knee. “Anne Howard Wilkes, will you marry me?” Without a single word, Anne flings herself
into his arms. ***
Johnny lives in one of the smaller apartments on the sixth floor, crammed with his parents
and big brother. Him and Alex have never been on good terms
— sibling rivalry, he supposed. But a week ago, they had a really nasty fight,
and Johnny got so worked up that he accidentally broke his camera. Johnny loved that thing, and their parents
didn’t have the money to buy him a new one. Today is Johnny’s birthday, and Alex is
nowhere to be seen. Mom and dad look upset too — they don’t
know where he is either. He’s not even picking up his cell — he
seems to have turned it off. Johnny’s mad and gloomy. Suddenly, the doorbell rings, and mom rushes
to open — but it’s just Jim and Kimberly, Johnny’s friends he’d invited to the little
party. Evening comes, everyone’s sitting at the
table, and Alex is still missing. Dad looks at his watch, sighs, winks at Johnny,
and goes to the kitchen. Mom takes the cue and turns off the lights. And then two things happen at once… Just as dad steps into the living room with
Johnny’s birthday cake, the door bangs. Dad stops in his tracks with the cake still
in his hands, candles burning, and a red-faced, sweaty Alex rushes into the living room. Everyone looks at him, and he stares at Johnny. “Hey, lil’ bro,” he says, still panting. “I see I’m not late, after all. Here you go. Happy B-day.” Johnny opens the package and finds a camera
inside, just like his old one. He can’t believe his eyes, and a question
is about to leave his lips. But then he sees there’s no bulge on Alex’s
jean pocket and realizes why he didn’t answer the phone. Swallowing a lump in his throat, Johnny says,
“Want a piece of cake, big bro?” ***
Danny’s sitting at his desk in his eighth floor apartment. He’s holding a pen and staring at a blank
piece of paper. He swore he’d write this letter when February
14 came, and he can’t back down now. But gosh it’s hard! His hands are shaking and he doesn’t know
what to write, so he stands up and starts pacing around the room. He thought writing about his feelings would
be easier than confessing in person. Ha! Yeah, right. But if he doesn’t do it now, he won’t
ever. So Danny clenches his teeth and gets down
to writing. Finished. Good. He stands up, his knees buckling, and goes
outside to send the letter. When he gets back, though, there’s an envelope
in his mailbox. He fishes it out, nervously chuckling at how
similar it looks to the one he just sent, and tears it open. Inside is a plain white sheet of paper, folded. He reads the contents and slides down on the
floor. The letter reads, “Hey Danny! Didn’t know how to ask you, so writing this. I think you’re cool. Wanna hang out some time? Henry M.” Danny laughs with relief — and
disbelief. Turns out he was worried for nothing. ***
Mr. Jameson is looking at his watch. Five minutes to six. He goes to the window to check up on his violins
one last time before calling it a day. He takes off his favorite from its stand,
sits down near the window, and plays. He’s been alone for as long as he could
remember. No one ever shared his passion for strings
— and Mr. Jameson didn’t really mind. Violins were his life and his bread. He made them and played them, and each of
them had a name and a story to it. This one in particular he called Agatha, and
she was perfect. He loved every sound she made, and doubted
he could ever sell her. Mr. Jameson finishes the tune and realizes
he’s not alone anymore. Someone is standing right outside the shop
window. He looks up and sees a woman in her early
thirties, staring straight at him. She doesn’t look familiar. She starts, shakes her head, and goes to the
door to knock. Mr. Jameson opens. “This instrument… She’s beautiful,” says the woman as a
way of greeting. “Do you have a name for her?” Perplexed, Mr. Jameson stutters, “Y-yes,
she’s Agatha. And you’re?..” The woman blushes. “Oh, I’m so sorry. My name’s Linda Crane. If you forgive my impertinence, may I hold
her? Mister…?”
“Jameson. Randall Jameson. Yes, please, come in. Do you play?” Instead of answering, Ms. Crane takes the
violin, presses her cheek to its body, and brings the bow to the strings. The tune is simple, Mr. Jameson knows it well,
but he’s never heard anyone put so much force and feeling in it. He quietly takes another violin and starts
playing the supporting part. When they finish, Randall and Linda sit in
silence and look at the floor. Then they both raise their eyes to each other,
and they know they’re not alone anymore. ***
Love comes in all shapes and forms, and it gets to everybody. It’s what makes this whole world go round. And it will — eventually — find a way
even to the loneliest heart.

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