He slowly plods in the direction of her lawn. He marches, quietly. It takes him days. First, his legs are very short. Second, he can only walk when no one is looking. Third, he knows, by virtue of experience, that nighttime is best, and so he moves at night, the humans asleep.

This is not the first rodeo for Charlie, oh no. He’s tried this before. It was Enid, that other time. He tried walking during the day when no people were around. And it was fine, except he was discovered again and again and again. Gentler days. When he was discovered then, people returned him to his point of origin. Maybe those were kinder days, or maybe it was his home address being painted on his stand, but he always ended up back where he started.

Not this time. He knows if he’s caught now, he won’t be treated so kindly. But he’s determined. He knows what he wants. Who he wants.

He met her weeks ago. She was visiting her friend, next door. Her red hair flowed over her shoulders. Her green eyes twinkled. It was love, and he needed to be hers, oh yes. His ceramic heart palpitated, felt as though it would thump out of the hard wall of his painted chest. He sent her a photo, taken in the dark, risking a flash. Himself, holding a flower. He heard nothing back, but then why would he?

It’s almost dawn, but he’s nearly there. He risks the stalking cats, he ignores the bleary eyed businessmen in their BMWs as he walks the last few feet to her cottage, her gorgeous garden, her porch.

He’s come prepared, has Charlie. He pulled up an armful of daffodils. He cradles them, he stands at her door. He waits for her to step outside and see his smile, sense his love for her, his colleen.

He freezes. He waits. He stills his beating heart.

She opens the door. She sees him and stops. She stares.

He can’t even look at her, she’s that beautiful. He wants to be her gnome forever. He smiles as he watches an ant crawl over his foot. At last she speaks, she says,
“Gloria? There’s a fucking gnome on my porch. It’s freaking me out. I don’t know what you were thinking, putting it here, but I want it gone when I come home. Freak.”