No, I’m not introducing you to my new imaginary friend. I’m remembering a wonderful little moment I had with one of the ladies in my work neighborhood. This happened just when things were starting to be bad last month, and I never got around to writing it.
There is a teenty, tiny woman who lives around the corner from my job. She is straight out of a sepia print of “Street in Sicily, 1925.” She wears all black, she wears a head scarf, she moves as steady and sure as a tank. She’s out in any weather, taking care of her business, keeping her little front yard neat and trim. She’s about four-food-ten. (And I know shorter people hate to hear this, but I just have to say it: she’s unbelievably cute.)
Over the handful of years that I’ve been at my job, we’ve developed a smile-and-say-good-morning relationship, which pleases me. If it’s winter and she sees me, she might expand and give me a stern once-over and a: “You warm enough in only that?” And if I say I am, she’ll shake her head and say: “You’re young yet.”
Last month, we finally had our first real conversation. Maybe because we were caught at the corner and had to wait half a second for the light. Maybe because the trees are blooming. Who knows. She turned to me and asked if I’d had a nice Easter. I asked her the same. She talked about her family a little and how much she enjoys her four grandchildren … so long as it’s not every day she has to be with them! We talked about how annoyingly cold the spring had been and then said goodbye at her door as I continued my walk to the train.
Nothing much, but it made me very happy. Her stern face gives the impression that she’ll be a bit crochety, that she’s more likely to shake her fist and tell me to get off her lawn than to break into a smile and pat my arm. But there she is in all her cuteness, making my day.
We’ve seen each other a few times since then, and she has clearly adopted me, decided that I’m one of her people. She smiles and jokes with me. Last week there as a moment when I thought she was going to give me a dope slap! I’m definitely one of the family now.