The Old Lady

She was an old lady.

There was an oddity about her… like she knew something that you didn’t and like she’ll never tell what it was. She had what some called  crazed eyes, a weird smile and deliberate mannerisms.

Her hair was wiry and wavy and must have been long in her time. She wore it in a tight ponytail behind her head. Her eyes sunk into her sockets, and appeared abnormally black. She wore clothes of dark colors, brown and black… a baggy shirt atop stained pants.

Her house was in one of the good neighborhoods… and the house still seemed to retain its former glory… the curtains, the furniture, the carpets had all been neglected, yet they stayed, dusty yet strong. The windows seemed to want to tell the stories that this house held.. stories of her, of him.. of that fateful night…

She held a walking stick, but only ever used it to drive out pesky kids out of her way. She hobbled a little, but she did not care. She knew everyone thought she was mad… she knew she was a bit mad, yet she enjoyed the fact that people were scared of her… it gave her a sense of belonging… at least they knew she existed.

No one knew if she had ever gotten married… no one knew if she had any kids… or any family. They did not know her interests, her likes or her dislikes. They only saw her as the old lady who sits alone in the rocking chair at the front porch, looking at everyone passing by.

Today, she wasn’t at the front porch.

I go in the house looking for her. I don’t know her, but I’m sure she knows me. I step on something soft… I jump… it’s just an old rug… I take a deep breath to calm my racing heart.

“What the heck am I doing here?”

I don’t know. I keep going forward to see where she is.

She is at the dining table… there are old photographs in front of her… old birthday cards.

I stand there at the doorway, waiting for her to notice me.

I notice she is wearing a ring like mine… there is a worn out photograph on the table, it seems well-held… I look around.

The curtains- my mother bought them when I was in college. The carpet was bought when my dad retired… The furnishings… the wind chime… The rug I had kicked off….this is my house. But how could it be? I had just walked into a new territory… or was it new?

Her back is towards me. My heart is racing. I feel sweat trickle down the base of my neck down my back, but it isn’t hot. It’s cold. I shiver. I will her to turn around, silently in my head. I don’t want to be here, but its as if my feet are rooted to the ground, just as my vocal chords seem jammed together. My mouth is dry. I’m parched. Will she turn around? How long do I wait? Should I wait? In all the tension, somewhere at the back of my throat a crazy mirth threatens to escape my lips, even though there is nothing remotely jovial about this scene. I notice a movement. She turns around. I let out a silent cry as I realize who this old, crazy, friendless, eccentric, lonely woman is.


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