a brief pause

17Apr12

I live in a relatively friendly neighborhood. In these modern times and in such a large city, it’s rare to even nod to stranger. When I lived in my house, I smiled at everyone walking down the street, and I knew most of the people around me. In my new apartment only a few blocks away, I’m pleased to say I know a few of the tenants by name and even have a few phone numbers.

My next door neighbor is older. She’s an interesting woman, originally from the West Indies. She’s invited me for tea several times, but I haven’t made it. Today, we bumped into each other and it was so nice that I could just say yes. I took time out of my hectic day and visited with a stranger. She made a lovely cup of tea and told me about herself.

People my parents’ age and older truly know the art of polite conversation. They take time to listen, they tell their own stories, and they don’t interrupt. Today, I got to practice my conversational skills which, truthfully, I don’t use that much anymore, especially not with the teenagers who flit in and out of my apartment. Today, I got to slow down and spend a bit of time getting to know someone new.

I have the feeling that my neighbor has witnessed just about everything there is to see in this world. She’s lived in two very different places, and in the span of her life has experienced so much change. I got the sense that she knows what she thinks is right, but doesn’t expect others to have the same ideas.

I can read between the lines. I know that my new friend is tight on money; I know that she doesn’t always get to see her family as much as she would like to; and I sense that her children and grandchildren, having been raised here, in this time, are not cut from the same friendly, kindhearted cloth that she is. She is good. You can feel it. She comes from a time and a place where people visited with each other, cared about each other, and there was a village to help you as you raised your family.

But she focuses on the positive. She said she’s at the best point in her life so far. She has no set commitments and no time constraints. She does what she wants, when she wants to. She appreciates when she has company, and keeps herself entertained when she doesn’t.

She had caught me in the middle of laundry, so about halfway through, I went down and got my clothes out of the dryer and came back up. I folded while we continued chatting. Toward the end of our visit, we found out that we have something in common. We both read free Romance and Paranormal Romance novels on Kindle. I looked at her book list, and I have the very same books on mine!

Before I left, we exchanged numbers, and I gave her my children’s numbers in case she ever needs anything when I’m not around. As I left, I decided to invite her for dinner sometime very soon. I’m very grateful that she invited me over. I’m so glad I made the time. It was a lovely visit and well worth the break in my frenetic schedule.

It’s nice to do something for another. It’s nice to make a connection. It’s nice to get so much back.

And sometimes it’s in those moments between the madness that we discover what life is truly about.



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