The House -6-

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The young man ahead of me was searching through his backpack. I could see his hands shaking while going franticly through his stuff.

“I can’t find my wallet,” said in his phone.

I looked at his groceries on the moving belt and wished I could come up with the money. He had a bag of crackers and some wine. Did a little math in my head to see how much I could afford to give away.

“May I pay with my Apple?” he asked the cashier and was out of there in no time.

I paid for my salad and walked out. If the tourist would be there in the parking lot I was ready to go and talk to him. Maybe, in my weirdness, I would pray for that wallet to be found. The guy wasn’t there anymore and, as I was waiting at the stoplights, I took a piece of broccoli from the container and shoved it in my mouth with my fingers. By the time I got on the shore, I already had my late lunch.

Groups of people and bicycles were strolling the sidewalk to the pier. I crossed the sand area and stopped directly in the water. The waives were coming and breaking on the shore in monotonous moves, not strong enough to scare me. It was good and refreshing. Then something touched my feet. When I looked, there was a wallet, an empty wallet.

 

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The House -5-

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A young couple got on the street in front of me, heading to the beach. She was wearing a red swimsuit, bra and thong, and nothing else. Perfect nonchalant body caring a beach tote on her shoulder. I slowed down to give them space and crossed the road to the store. The parking lot was full with cars slowly going in and out like old snails. I called myself blessed to have a designated parking spot a hundred feet from there and not freak out looking for parking every time I had to drive across the bridge.

I passed by the bunches of sunflowers placed at the entrance and caught the price with the corner of my eye, $5,99. Almost double I used to pay at another store. The guy by the fried chicken area greeted me.

I could have some chicken.

“Hi, ” I greeted him back. “What are the deals?”

He opened his arms in a wide move. “Today we have 8 pieces for $5. Otherwise you will get 4 for $4, 8 for $8 or the meal, 2 pieces and 2 sides for $7.”

“May I get 2 pieces only?”

He puckered his lips, “I’m afraid not.”

“Let me have a small container of broccoli salad, then.”

“Are you new in town?” he asked with a smile.

“In this area, yes.”

“If you don’t live too far from us, drop by during the day for last-minute sales. You’ll find good treasures.”

I thanked him, grabbed a plastic fork from the counter and went to the register to pay. An elderly guy got there a split of a second after me. I saw him frowning.

“Are you in a hurry?” I asked making room for him to go ahead.

He shook his head and relaxed.

“Not anymore.” And let me be first.

“You are smart,” I added and continued. “Actually, you are wise.”

The House -4-

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“Hi, neighbor,” I said and stood there in the middle of the room watching my guest. “Are you hungry?’ I asked and waited. The cat didn’t move. Adam had told me about this cat paying him a visit on the porch now and then. “She doesn’t come inside, just sits there to see. Maybe she was used with the former tenant.”

I opened the fridge again and did’t find anything for cat or for me. With a handful of chips in hand and my purse strapped across my chest I locked the door to go out. The feline leaped on the rail and made his way on top of the roof. I walked down the stairs, carefully to make it on the middle of the steps – you could see spots of wood eaten by termites – and crossed in the common yard. The little cottages were tucked next to each other alongside a narrow pathway.

I closed the small gate towards our apartment and left behind the burgundy bush in full bloom.

The second house from where we lived was under construction and the builders were giving directions to each other in loud voice. The hammers and drilling and all the commotion made me hurry on the road between the garages. I could see the ocean. Said “Hi!” to a neighbor who was unloading some cabinets and took my way to the store. I really needed to eat something. My stomach was hurting.

From the top of a garage transformed in a nice deck, a dog started barking at me. Then I remembered what one of the voters told me yesterday at the voting poll where I volunteered. “I was supposed to vote by mail, but my dog ate the ballot.”

Life can be unpredictable.

The House -3-

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The big pile of personal things in the small apartment made me nervous. Where in the world was I going to put them all? My son’s stuff was neatly placed in his little dresser and in the storage area under the big bed.

“I will make room for yours,” he had mentioned a couple of weeks before me moving in and I left it right there. I hoped I would pack light and leave behind most of my things, but it didn’t work. And here I was crushing his place with lots of clothes, shoes and and large cooking utensils. It was kind of him not to say anything when he loaded his car with all of this. Now I had to solve the problem.

“Mom, do you want some water?”

Adam poured a glass of water from the fridge and gulped it down.

“I’m fine, thank you!”

“It’s going to be hot today,” he mentioned and went to change his T-shirt. “Are you hungry?” he continued. “I can run to the store and get something you like.”

I was, but didn’t want him more trouble. “Don’t worry, son. I’ll eat something from here.” He passed by me on his way to the door and left a kiss on my cheek. “Everything will be alright. You’ll love it here.” Apron in his hand, he waved at me and left to work. He was a server at one of the restaurants in the city.

I saw a beef jerky bag in the kitchen and took a piece. It was sticky. The taste was a little different, maybe spoiled, but I ate it anyway. When I grasped the second piece I had the common sense to put it back and throw the bag in the trash.

A strange cat showed up in the frame of the door and just sat there, looking at me.

The House -2-

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I cracked the door and then opened it wide to the limit where it hit the edge of the deck’s rail. That was the way it was. It crossed my mind that whoever built it, didn’t have in mind the renter’s good, but the owner’s expenses. Anyway, I left that thought behind and stepped inside.

The air was stuffed from the half-full garbage bag. Left my purse on the table and took the bag out, behind the open door. Strange. I could feel somebody was still behind the blinds at the house across from me.

“Hi,” I said and halted for a moment to see who was there. I heard a thud. “Are you all right?” I asked and waited for a couple of moments. There was no answer. A seagull flopped his wings on top of the house, looking for food. So, I tied the garbage bag to keep it from the bird.

There were seconds until the gate screeched, announcing my son’s arrival. By the time I took off my light jacket, he was up the stairs with one of my boxes.

“I guess you found a parking spot,” I stated and stretched my arms to help him with the load.

“Yeah. I told you there was no big deal during the weekdays, mom.” He placed the box on the floor and went down the stairs for the other ones.

I couldn’t wait to have all my stuff inside and walk to the beach.

The House -1-

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As I crossed the bridge to the Peninsula, I looked around and said to myself, “Here is going to be my home for the next months.”

The road was backed up with cars dragging their wheels to the first traffic stop. The month of June means more tourists from out of state heading to the ocean shore. My son’s car was there somewhere, loaded with my stuff. I was riding light, as I had to park 3 minutes away from the house and didn’t want to carry anything else but my purse. Age and heart sickness come with some luxury, right?

When I got out the car, the breeze picked up. It was cloudy still, but the air was warm and loaded with salty and ocean algae fragrance. I turned the corner to our street just in time to see the back of my son’s vehicle disappearing on a parallel street. He was looking for a parking spot.

I opened the gate and saw my boxes and bags lined up by the garage in the yard. Unlocked the small gate to my son’s apartment and got up the wooden stairs glued to the old building. The yellow bunches of flowers and the small American flags guarding the steps were still in place, in spite of the wind. I was glad I bought them and secured them on the staircase before Memorial Day. They made such a difference.

The petunias on the small deck needed some water. But i had to get inside first. Placed the key in the keyhole, when I turned around.

A few feet away, somebody was peeking at me from behind their blinds.

Mom and Daughters

crocus-flower-spring-buhen-55828 (1)At least one continent is celebrating Mother’s Day today and since this great Nation adopted us, we celebrate it like everybody else. Flowers, gifts and kisses on my cheeks,I have a sweet time with my two daughters in the Bay Area up North in California.

As they sat up in bed next to me with a cup of coffee this morning, I was so grateful for my two beautiful little girls who turned into such amazing women. I remember them crawling on my lap, coloring a card with the word “mom” on top, with sticky fingers from a lollypop.

I love you, my girls!