After the water incident yesterday, I spent the rest of the afternoon writing at a coffee shop. It was one of those afternoons when the words and ideas flowed and I felt directly connected to my highest, most creative sense. After about three hours, I walked back home, still buzzing from the writing high.
I walked to the back of my building, towards the mail room, and ran into a neighbor who I know from church. Jane is in her 80’s. She wears her white, wavy hair in a shoulder skimming bob, always has large, translucent-plastic framed glasses balanced on her nose and looks spookily like my grandma Bunny.
Jane and I have become friends over the years. She’s called me more than once to come down to her apartment on the 18th floor and solve a computer or printer problem, always sending me home with cookies from the bakery across the street as payment for my time.
Yesterday I saw her and said hi, like I always do and kept going. Instead of just returning the greeting, she called out, “Marisa, wait just a minute.” I turned back and waiting to hear what she had to say. She said that she wanted to compliment me on the work I’ve done at the church, particularly in relationship to a new monthly Sunday evening worship service that the young adult group has been coordinating. She told me that she has made it a point to attend our services, because she likes to make sure that we young people know that the old folks like her want us to succeed and she thinks we’re doing a wonderful job.
She complimented me particularly on the pieces I’ve written and presented at the services and told me how impressed she was by me. By the time she finished I was blushing madly and nearly crying. I thanked her for her praise and went and got on the elevator.
When I got upstairs, I dropped the mail on the table and collapsed into the couch. It still seems slightly strange to me, but when Jane was telling me how proud she was of my efforts, it almost seemed like it was my grandmother’s voice was speaking in tandem with her’s. Bunny died when I was just about to turn 15, long before we had a chance to work out some of the hurts we caused each other during the decade and a half we got together. I’ve spent some time over the last couple of years actively working to release the bits I’d been holding onto and Jane’s words helped me forgive on a new level.
As I was driving to class yesterday, I called home and my dad answered the phone. I told him about my encounter with Jane and how I had felt like for a moment it had been Bunny talking to me. He paused for a moment and then said, “You know, that’s just the sort of thing she would have done.” We sat silently on the phone together for a couple of beats, each remembering and feeling filled with love. Finally my dad spoke again. “Maybe in some way it really was her. You never can know.”