Today I was smiling because I wanted to, and not because a stranger said I’d probably be really pretty if I did.
As a younger woman, to be famous was what I wanted. Now, it’s to grow vegetables.
In a cottage by the water, with a mop of graying mermaid hair, I shall write silly stories, tend my garden and talk to tomatoes.
A feral tabby will lounge on the porch, ignoring me, and never come inside because neither of us wants that, and then slip away at the darker stage of twilight to do whatever it is that wild cats do.
I’ll drink red wine from a mug and gaze at the moon and do it all again the next day.
I’m terribly fond of our mailman. He always has a smile, asks about your day, and addresses everyone in the complex by their given name. It feels very small town and comfortable in this sometimes-lonely big city.
We all adore Jamie.
Occasionally, on my afternoon walk, I’ll see him on a different block in the neighborhood. He’ll give a wave and yell, “Hello, Miss Rebecca!” or if a parcel gets delivered while I’m out, “I left you a present.”
If three days pass and Jamies not around, it does not go unnoticed. A low-grade panic sets in and my 70-year old neighbor, Jackie, and I will start trading texts and worrying that he may have gotten a new route and what if the little dude with the enormous straw lifeguard hat takes his place. The one who never makes eye contact and just carelessly lobs packages at your door without thought or backward glance.
Then the next day, like magic, he’ll reappear. “Well, look what the cat dragged in.” I’ll say casually like we barely even noticed he was gone.
That’ll teach him.
Recently one of my neighbors started giving him a bottle of Gatorade a few times a week. So yesterday I gave him a banana.
“I’ll see your high fructose corn syrup, Nancy, and raise you potassium.”
I’m not romantically interested or jealous, I just don’t want him to like her better than me.