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five minute free write friday 06/17


like the strangers you have met

If you've met them then they're not really strangers, are they? I live amongst familiar strangers. Above me live a man, a woman, and a small child. Next door to me lives Annie, who's hardly ever home. Sharing my back wall is Betty, whose dogs Briggy and Fred had puppies not too long after I moved in. briggy and Fred are Pomeranian mixed with something else and those puppies were incredibly cute, like pointy noised hamsters. A month ago a skinny, nervous looking woman moved into the apartment above Annie's. I've taken to sitting out on the patio of a vmorning, reading a book with the early sun. Three days ago a man came walkking downstairs around 6am. Yesterday a different man came downstairs around 6am. this morning a WOMAN came down stairs around 6am. At first I thought my new neighbor enjoyed male compaionship; now I don't know what to think. Why shoould I think anythingg at all? Why should I concoct scenarios for a person I don't even know? One morning she herslef came home in the early hours. She took a swig of apple juice from a half gallon container then cuahgt sight of me. "I'm sorry." She said. "For what?" said I. "No need to apologize." What was that about?

I've met a nice woman and her two sons. She's divorced and her boys are a bit older than Jack. We all get along well. It's nice to have found someone in the complex I can relate to.

There's a dad I wonder about. He has three children: a girl Jack's age, a girl a little younger, and a 3 year old boy. I've never seen a mother and the kids don't talk about one. I've never talked to the dad but I've invented all sorts of nice things about him. He's tall, which I like, and has a gap-toothed smile, which I also like. He had long wavy brown hair but buzzed it soon after I first saw him. He's quiet and when he speaks to the kids it's in a low voice marked by an indistinct accent or perhaps a speech impediment. Lately I've seen him hanging out with various women in the complex. I suppose one morning he's the one who will be walking downstairs at 6am.

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So many reasons it's been a long time since we took the boys out thrift store shopping. Yesterday, Tuesday, both of us had a full day off to spend as we pleased.


First we ate at Chaffin's Diner. They seated us in the less-dinery back room, which ended up being a good thing because we sat directly beneath a fan and didn't notice so much the heat. E drank decaff coffee with cream. I didn't notice sugar. Decaff, like his Uncle D. Coffee, like his Mimi.



We hit Shop for a Cause first, where the boys found nothing and subsequently sulked.



Next we pulled into the Humane Society Thrift Store, which I haven't visited in a long time. Historically I haven't found anything there.



Today we hit the treasure jackpot.



A $2 Ziploc bag containing the comprehensive plastic presidential contingent from Washington through Eisenhower.



Of course E had them ordered in a matter of moments.



Finally we escaped the store with a trove of treasures (more than I've found in one place in …