By Laura McHale Holland
Wendy wends her way toward Harold’s Diner at the end of the block. Judy scowls at Wendy from her parlor window as she knits a baby hat for a child yet to be conceived.
Judy’s husband works long hours in a cubicle balancing accounts for his employer. Wendy’s husband left her for a pole dancer five years ago.
Wendy pauses to touch one of the many of red tulips blooming along the picket fence defining Judy’s front yard. Judy rushes to her front porch. “What do you think you’re doing?” she demands.
Wendy looks up at Judy’s squinting eyes, her clenched jaw and feels sorry for the woman who is always peeking out from behind her curtains but never sharing recipes with neighbors or stopping in for a cup of coffee at Harold’s. “Why, I’m admiring your tulips, such a lovely part of springtime,” Wendy says.
“You’d best be on your way, now. Those bulbs came all the way from Holland. Cost a pretty penny. I don’t want any funny business.”
“All right, then, neighbor,” Wendy says. She ambles off and soon reaches Harold’s, where she is greeted by familiar smells and the smiles of long-time friends.
Judy watches the diner door close behind Wendy and bites her lip, imagining how dreadful being a waitress must be.