Gloria couldn’t take it anymore.
After spending ten minutes watching the blue Volvo station wagon try (and fail) to parallel park on the street in front of her house, she set down her cup of tea and went outside into the mild, moist spring air, marched up to the car, and knocked on the driver’s side window.
The pale woman with a brown ponytail jumped, turned and saw Gloria, then put a hand to her chest and closed her eyes for a second before rolling down the window. “I’m sorry. Am I parking illegally?”
“I’m afraid you’re not parking at all. Need some help?”
“Aren’t you just the sweetest thing,” the woman said in her mild southern drawl. “As a matter of fact, I could use some help.” As she got out of the car, Gloria was grateful to take over, even as she marveled that someone could just hand her car over to a complete stranger.
In a matter of seconds, Gloria had the car parked perfectly parallel, right up against the curb. She got out, handed the keys back to their proper owner, and offered her empty hand for the woman to shake. “I’m Gloria, by the way.”
“Gloria, thank you so much. I’m afraid I never have been a very good driver. I’ve never had to do it much, but … well, times change.” She said this last part with a sense of forced cheer and Gloria thought she saw the woman’s green eyes mist over just the slightest. “I’m Danielle,” she said as she shook Gloria’s hand.
“Nice to meet you, Danielle. You moving into the neighborhood?”
“Yes. Actually, I’ll be living in the house right across the street.” Danielle pointed at the bungalow opposite Gloria’s with the realtor’s sign with the big “SOLD” sticker across it. Turning and indicating Gloria’s house, she asked, “You live here?”
“I do. What do you say I do the neighborly thing by helping you unpack?”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about anything in there,” Danielle said with a quick wave of her hand at the station wagon. “I just brought along a few small, personal things. I hired movers for all the rest. They should be here any minute now.” Danielle made a show of checking her watch and looking up and down the street.
“At least come in and have a cup of tea with me,” said Gloria. “We can sit by the window and keep an eye out for your movers while I get you started on all the local gossip.”
“That would be lovely. Thank you so much.” Danielle led the way into Gloria’s house, which led Gloria to immediately second guess her decision to extend the invitation.
To be continued…
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