I heard her coming down the drive and then the rattle of the gauze door as she came in, puffing slightly, her hand on her Fitbit and a quick glance to see the steps she had travelled.
This was my neighbour Marjorie Nettlespawn who would pop in each morning at the end of her walk. On her feet where her red joggers, always resplendently clean and in her track suit I’m sure she ironed daily.
My reaction was to slip the kettle on and boil water for a coffee she always loved at the end of her walk.
“6000 steps,” she announced, “any news on no 5?”
This was a reference to my children in whom Marg took a very healthy interest. All my children she knew by number rather than by name, and I found it a quaint way to talk about them with her. Whatever the problem she always had an opinion and I was forever grateful that she didn’t judge them but rather reacted to their various issues with compassion and care. It was like she lived her life through my kids which was ok as I always thought I had enough to share with her.
“No,” I replied, “she still thinks her ex is going to bring the kids back on Christmas day, but we have reservations about that as he is going to be about 5 hours away on Christmas day and unlikely to drive all that way on Christmas day. So, we wait in hope, hope we don’t have a distraught mother her Christmas night.”
“Life’s hard sometimes isn’t,” she remarked. “Did 2 get away ok?”
“Yes, he and his family are away for two weeks. Back at Christmas. They have a time-share up north, and so they are spending a week there then catching up with friends in their old home town.”
“Good they spend some quality time together isn’t,” she remarked sipping on her coffee.
“Yes, they’ll be back for Christmas this year so that will be good having them around this year.”
“Christmas is such a good time,” said Marjorie, “so glad you let me share some of yours.”
“Well you are always welcome, and the kids like having you here.”
“Thank you. How is 6 going? Any luck with a job?”
“No nothing has changed. I ran into a neighbour who works in disability housing, and she was saying it’s not unusual for people with disabilities to change jobs, stop jobs even when you think they might be happy there. So, the struggle goes on.”
“I understand. So, how’s the garden looking?”
“Oh, picked you some roses this morning. Take them home with you I know how you like them and there’s a double black rose for you as well.
“Oh, so beautiful,” said Marj admiring them. “Thank you I do love the scent of those black roses; all that Turkish Delight comes to mind when I smell them.”
She sat there smelling the roses, which I’m sure took her to places other than here which was fine as I liked Marjorie a lot and enjoyed her company. Then suddenly as always happened, she was up and off saying thanks for the coffee, and she’d drop by the next morning.
I looked forward to it.
So, my day began, watering and a quick walk. Life was good most days.