She is Marlena, widow of James. Born in Germany. Former biology researcher.
In my stealthy way, I stole her name from the mailbox and draw it out like a 5-year-old learning to spell. Phonetically. Doing this makes me realize how beautiful I find the name. A few google searches supplied the additional bio.
Why does this sound familiar? This is a name I can remember — usually the hard part. I’m still the only person I know who gets excited about meeting someone for the sake of their name. Still- something makes me more curious about her than I am typical of strangers. I cannot pinpoint it. But she is a neighbor just mere seconds away. Maybe an interesting new person to get to know?
When I feel better — my curiosity tends to get the best of me. Which might explain the google searches as well. So far — I am intrigued enough to keep digging. I’ve learned some basic background information thus far.
She slowly strolls back and forth on our circular street, allowing her small dog to lead the way.
Her bust appears “German” to me, angular and sort of cropped, very neat. She looks extremely competent and very sad — also tall. She must be 6′,0″ with a straight body, like an arrow. I’d estimate she’s in her late 60’s or early 70’s.
A simple sophistication exudes her and interests me. I’ve seen her through the downstairs window, and have been “engineering” an opportunity to cross her path.
A very foreign type of behavior for me. I have also got to meet that little dog.
He reminds me of a mix between Alf from the late 80’s tv show and the Downy Snuggle Bear. There is a new dog and I am 6 years old all over again.
By “happenchance”, I approach the mailbox as she nears one late morning. The dog leads her to me in excitement and he’s as friendly in person as he appears from inside. He is Buddy — Marlena’s loyal and sole companion, now that Jim has passed.
She is also warm, but painfully shy. I see and understand the nuance immediately.
We exchange a few words and have a pleasant if albeit short exchange. I feel relieved to have made the extra effort and return to the house with a yearning to learn more.
Should I invite her over for coffee or tea? Is that still an actual thing or will that set off alarm bells? Honestly, I do not know — these types of things dumbfound me occasionally. To display interest in others, I have become accustomed to using the “like” feature on apps such as Instagram and Twitter. Coffee would be a big step forward and luckily, my Keurig takes care of the mechanics of coffee brewing.
I never take actions like this, as my hesitant nature typically gets the best of me, especially with newness. That nagging doubt — that cannot be rationalized or pushed away. I can fight it but it still remains, lingering — always.
I need to understand it better. I must.
Our paths cross a few more times over the next few weeks in a similar fashion — always pleasant yet brief.