Monday, January 23, 2017

My Lady B

I forgot to deposit my rent payment last Friday and my check is dated Monday, so over the weekend I made arrangements to meet up with my landlady so that I can just pay the rent in cash.

I caught up with her at the laundromat.

What ensued was not a brisk transaction between landlord and tenant but a half-an-hour heartfelt conversation between two strong (ahem, I like to think myself as such) women.

I stumbled upon our home -- and its owner, Miss B -- at OLX in 2015. When my crude search for a house turned up no interesting prospects, I returned to the online ad she had placed -- and felt so strongly it was meant for me and the children. When we finally met, and when she took us around, when she told me her story and I gave her a glimpse of mine, the deal was done. We moved in after seven days.

My landlady also shared a first name with my mother. I thought that was a sign.

More surprises: It turned out we had some common friends. My son now occasionally jams with her guitarist boyfriend. They play at the same jazz bar whose owner is Josh's friend and whom I interviewed for a feature once, before I even saw the OLX ad. In the 19 or so months that we have been here, my landlady and have had no reason to doubt each other's goodwill.

And so it came to this morning, when she remarked I was losing weight and that the kids looked great and that I seemed so busy and accomplished professionally -- and then ventured to ask how I REALLY am.

That just floored me.

She was surprisingly candid about her own experiences that she made it easier for me to reciprocate. I gave her a distilled, in-a-nutshell version of my, ugh, rather complicated predicament.

Now Miss B is a free spirit whose brown hair flowed freely, and who was wearing makeup as she did her laundry at eight in the morning. She is also a senior citizen, a woman with grown kids, a grandmother!

So we were not so alike, but we are not all that different, too. Amid the smell of detergent and fabric conditioner and the sound of machines whirring, she made me feel just a bit clearer and more confident about where I am and where I need to be.

Thank God for Monday morning surprises.

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