Love in Isolation, Day Three, Bronte

Day Three
Bronte

Dear Ellis,

I’m so very sorry to hear about Millie. My heart broke for you as I read your words. I don’t even know what to say, other than your feelings are completely understandable. But maybe a sweet boy or girl is being trained right this minute to be your next companion. Won’t it be wonderful to meet him or her?

I have two fat, spoiled cats. They’re sisters I adopted from a shelter. One is all black and the other is a tuxedo. The tuxedo I named Tux (I know, not terribly unique). Her sister is named Licorice. I love them more than I should, really. Tux acts like a dog. She follows me everywhere and snuggles next to me any chance she gets. In fact, she’s sitting here on my desk right now. She sleeps with her head tucked under her little white mitten paws and I just die over her cuteness every time.

Licorice has shiny black fur and bright green eyes. She loves to find a spot of sun and stretches out like a person at the beach. At least once a day she runs back and forth across the living room as if she’s being chased. If we have a ghost, she’s the only one who can see it. If she or he is a spirit, then I don’t think it’s a very nice one. Who chases a cat just for fun? I mean, other than a dog. Maybe our ghost is a dog? I’m kidding, of course. I don’t believe in ghosts. Not really anyway. Other than at night when I hear a noise or something and I pull the covers over my head. This is why I can’t watch scary shows or read horror books!

Listen to me, going on like a crazy cat lady. I suppose I fit the profile. Lonely school teacher who takes care of her mother and two cats. LOL. I don’t know why such a handsome man would want to correspond with me. I’m glad you are, though. I can’t tell you how fun it is to see your name pop up in my inbox.

My mother is doing well. Thank you for asking. She might like to correspond with your neighbor. If he’s interested, her email is PainterMama@xmail.com. She’s quite the character, so tell him to be ready. People are either amused or charmed by her or think she’s a complete lunatic. I’m not sure how she had such a dull daughter. She doesn’t talk about it much but I have a feeling she was a wild child in her college years. I’m pretty sure she lived on a commune and had a dozen lovers before she met my father. I know my boring ways have disappointed her. She absolutely loves how you asked for my email. When I asked her to paint a sign back to you, she practically did a cartwheel.

I’m not sure how you’ll feel about this but my mother’s a bit of a stoner. Long before cancer, she enjoyed a toke or two more often than she’d admit to her rule-following daughter. Now that it’s legal, she has me buying edibles and drops for her tea at one of the local shops. I flush red every time I go in there. Last time, the clerk asked me how I enjoyed the previous purchase? If you’re unfamiliar (I was) there are at least a hundred different types, all with very funny names, like Party Bus. I might have made that one up, but you get my point.

Anyway, the clerk is this young man with droopy-lidded eyes and a man-bun. Very pleasant and all but it’s obvious he enjoys the merchandise on a regular basis, including while at work. And, honestly, could a shower hurt?

I stuttered out that the purchase was actually for my mother. He exchanged an amused look with his coworker, a young woman with hair the color of blue cotton candy and a nose ring, up and down her ears and one in her tongue.

“And do you ever partake with her?” Cotton Candy Hair asked.

“Oh no. I’m a school teacher.” Why that came out of my mouth, I can’t say. I flushed an even deeper shade of red. Or, at least I think so. I couldn’t see myself but my cheeks felt like they were next to the radiator.

Oh, I must sound like such an old maid! Can you imagine the laugh they shared after I left?

I really should have been born in another time.

Anyway, all this to say, my mother is doing well, painting and enjoying her LEGAL marijuana and having a wonderful time teasing me about checking my email first thing every morning.

I became a teacher because it was the only thing I ever wanted to do. The first day of kindergarten I remember thinking this was my happy place. The place I belonged. The salty, greasy smell of school lunch (which I loved after my mother’s insistence on mustard greens and kale at home) and all those splendid books in the library and my teacher who I adored. Her name was Mrs. Preston and I wanted to grow up and be just like her. So, I did. I’ve never regretted it for a moment. And the best part is that during summer break I can read books every day and tend to my flowers. Someday, I hope to have a house with a yard so I can grow flowers in places other than my pots.

Speaking of which, I’m worried that I won’t be able to get flowers this year. I hope they’ll keep at least a few places open to buy them. My friend Julia has an SUV and she and I make a day of it every spring. We go to Flower World up north and fill up the back of her SUV. Who knows what will happen this year?

I should go. Goodness, I’ve written too much. I’m going to hit send before I change my mind about telling you my mother is a stoner. Write soon.

Bronte


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