As soon as I saw the cottage, I knew that it was perfect.
It had shingle siding and a little front porch with a pair of Adirondack chairs just waiting for someone to sit in them. A brick chimney perched on top of the roof. Two windows, flanking the front door, let in the warm morning sunlight.
There was even a key under the doormat. I couldn’t believe it. We wouldn’t even need to break the handle to get in.
I unlocked the door and stepped inside.
A double bed, neatly made, faced a small wood stove. There was a well-stocked kitchenette with a small dining table. The cottage must have once been a rental, I figured; the bed sheets and bathroom towels were clean, and there was a laminated note on the fridge about using the thermostat, where the nearest organic grocery store was, and other useless information.
I sat on one of the porch chairs and looked out across the vast LA valley. With no more cars on the roads or factories running, there wasn’t a single wisp of smog. The view from the cottage was so clear that it seemed like I could just reach out and grab the skyscrapers downtown or dip my fingers in the blue Pacific Ocean.
“This is it,” I said. “This is where we’ll live. It feels like it’s ours already.”