In my old neighborhood I would take early morning runs around the lake. It was quiet and occasionally a car would pass and we would gently smile at one other or raise a hand in an early morning greeting.
The neighborhood housed grand historic homes with well kept lawns, beautiful front doors and tree swings in the front lawns. Nestled in between these lovely homes was a house with bright yellow shutters and a royal blue and yellow awning that reminded me more of dr's office than a historic home.
I hated that house.
Last night while I was dropping a new friend off at her home I encountered the home again. Barbara is seventy-seven and happens to be in the same fiction workshop as myself. Her stories are gems, with most of them being set in the 50's and her characters hold classic names like Celia and Burt.
Last week she emailed me to say that she loved the comments I gave on her latest story and told me that I sounded like a professional editor.
"We must get together for drinks,"she said in her email.
And so last night we talked and laughed and shared stories over cocktails.
"I'll have another Vodka martini," she said to the bartender. I looked down at the beer in front of me. I was barely halfway through.
"This is my first time out in four months. I'm going to enjoy myself!"
She wanted to know everything about me and I wanted to hear all of the details of her life.
"I spent a lot of time in bars. I even lived with an alcohol for six years," she said, her eyes flashing with memories.
"But I couldn't marry him. And he wasn't a bad person, he just drank too much."
She did end up marrying at the ripe age of forty-two to a man she met in a bar who had hours earlier finalized his divorce.
After two hours of swapping stories, she announced that she was ready to go. I handed her her cane, helped her off the bar stool and to my car to give her a ride home.
"New Yorkers don't drive. I'm so glad you're driving, I could never do this," she said as I made a three point turn.
We chit chatted as she gave me directions to her home and I navigated my Volvo into my old neighborhood.
"The corner of Massachusetts and Gosnold "she said. "It's the house on the right with the bright yellow shutters and awning."
I laughed to myself and helped Barbara out of my car and into her home.