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Without her friend

published: 2010-08-24

She steps off her bike, just as I had turned back to admire a house. She pushes her bike through the gates. She has short hair which has never been dyed, yet has somehow maintained its brown hue. She wears a seamed skirt. A blouse and a short blazer. A small leather purse across her body. Make-up.

“It’s for sale,” she says about the house. She seems shy as her face shows hardly any expression and she continues to fumble with her bike. Yet she doesn’t want me to leave either as the fulmbling takes unnecessarily long. Within a few minutes she has told me that she is visiting her friend – who lives there – for tea. But her friend is old now, she confides. And her friend wants to leave the island, move to a city where family of hers lives. Closer to kin.

She tells me – quite proudly – that she lives alone too. And that she looks much younger than her age. Gues, she says and doesn’t wait for me to. Eighty, she says. Indeed, I say. Probably fresh island air conserves a person better than a city does. Surely it does. She tells me even more, quietly yet the words race ahead of her breath. Once upon a time she inherited the house she hesrelf lives in, further down the road. That’s why she lives on the island. No other reason really. She too has more family and friends on mainland. I had never considered ownership could determine the course of one’s life. Why not, I wondered. While she herself is wondering how long she can still manage there. Without her friend.

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