Awesome Petunias

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Ellie Barton looked up over the top of the latest copy of Birds and Blooms as the child passed by her patio for what had to be the third time this morning, and Ellie chuckled when she saw the kid’s reaction to being caught looking in her direction.

Ellie had seen the child several times since she had moved in to the apartment complex, and at first she feared that the young person was casing the place in order to pull off a robbery or something, because she obviously didn’t live there since the rental community was restricted to people 55 and older.

Once afternoon Ellie happened to be outside when the girl passed though the courtyard, and since her next door neighbor. The rather gruff Mr. Forbes, happened to be outside as well smoking one of his vile cigars, she asked whether he had any idea who the boy was.

“That’s Mary Jackson’s grandchild – she’s in apartment 119 – and it ain’t a boy. He’s a she, though you’d never know it would you?”

The annoying Mr. Forbes had then proceeded to explain how kids today aren’t like they were back in his day, and Ellie nodded politely while trying to tune out the curmudgeon’s grumbling as she looked at the girl in the over-sized army pea coat and baseball cap who always seemed very sad.

Probably being sentenced to spend time with the grandmother was the cause for the glum expression on her face, Ellie reasoned that day, and ever since then had looked at the girl in a different way. When Ellie was young she was a lot like her, the quiet and non-conforming type, so she made a point of smiling whenever she saw her.

Since Ellie spent every moment possible outside on the patio, she saw the girl frequently and while the girl didn’t smile back at first, she did end up coming gradually closer to Ellie’s patio as she passed until this one morning she was almost within earshot.

“Good morning,” Ellie called out to the girl when she strolled through with a swinging loaf of bread almost hitting the grass as the girl held it by the twist-tie end.

“Oh – uh – hi,” the girl said, looking stunned that she was being talked to.

“Going to be another nice day,” Ellie opined as she looked at the tiny girl who was lost in the jacket that was built for somebody twice her size.

“Yeah, Um… my grandmother. She lives here,” the girl said. “That’s why I’m here.”

“That’s nice,” Ellie said. “She’s lucky that she has someone that cares about her so much. I didn’t think you lived here, if that what you were wondering about. I didn’t think you were old enough.”

“Neither do you,” the girl said as she moved closer to Ellie. “I mean – well – you know what I mean. You don’t look old enough. Everybody else here is like my grandmother. You know, fossils?”

“Oh. Thank you. I am approaching the fossil stage, but I appreciate the compliment,” Ellie said, smiling at the awkward bluntness of the child.

“Um… gotta get my grandmother her bread,” the girl said.

“Well, it was nice speaking to you,” Ellie said. “If you ever feel like stopping by for a cup of tea and chatting with an almost fossil, you’re always welcome. My name’s Ellie. You can tell your grandmother where you’re going so she doesn’t worry.”

“Oh. Um. Yeah. My name’s Kat.”

“Kat? Is that kat with a c or a k?” Ellie asked with a grin.

“K,” the girl said, scrunching up her face as she explained. “It’s really Katherine but I like Kat way better.”

“Kat it is then,” Ellie said. and when the girl actually smiled it was a nice smile that made her look less like someone headed to the Gulag for once.

“Um… like, I can come back after I dump the bread off. Is that okay?”

“Oh. Well – sure,” Ellie replied, a bit startled at the response. “As long as your grandmother doesn’t mind.”

“No. She doesn’t want me around anyway,” Kat said. “I’ll be right back.”

With that, the girl in the drab pea green army jacket went off to the grandmother’s, her pace decidedly quicker than before, and Ellie went back inside to fill her tea pot for her company.

“She probably doesn’t want tea, but I don’t have any soda, except tonic water,” Ellie said to herself as she prepared it. “And who are you talking to, Ellie Barton?”

When Ellie came back out to the patio, nudging the door open as she carried a tray with the teapot, cups and a plate of cookies, Kat was standing on the other side of the patio, barely visible over the planters that sat on the rail, looking like a puppy waiting for permission.

“Come around Kat. Make yourself at home,” Ellie said as she set the tray down to the table and patted the second chair that hadn’t been used since she moved in. “I know you don’t probably care for tea, but I don’t have anything else except orange juice. Would you rather?”

“No. Tea’s awesome,” Kat asked as she plopped into the chair and watched Ellie pour her a cup before splashing cream and about 5 teaspoons of sugar into it. “Thanks.”

“Hope your grandmother doesn’t mind me stealing you away from her,” Ellie said as she looked over at her companion.”

“No, bahis firmaları she doesn’t want me hanging around anyway,” Kat said. “After a few minutes I can tell she can’t wait for me to leave. I go because my old man sends me over. He doesn’t want me hanging around home. I’m real popular.”

“I’m sure you’re exaggerating,” Ellie said. “I’ll bet your grandmother loves to see you.

“Do your grandchildren visit you much?” Kat asked.

“I – I don’t have any,” Ellie said.

“Oh. You just moved in here, didn’t you?”

“Yes, just last month.”

“I could tell because this patio was barren before, and then all of a sudden the furniture and all the flowers appeared. Awesome petunias.”

“Thank you, Kat,” Ellie said. “Would you like a cookie?”

“Sure,” Kat said as she scooped up a couple of the sugar cookies and ate them eagerly. “Awesome cookies. Did you make them?”

“No, I’m afraid they’re store bought,” Ellie said. “I can cook but I’m not much over a baker.”

“Neither is my grandmother,” Kat opined as she grabbed another cookie. “Only problem is that she doesn’t know it. She always makes these molasses cookies that she insists I eat, and man are they shitty!”

“Oh. Sorry,” Kat said when she saw Ellie flinch a bit at her language.

“Well, don’t be sorry,” Ellie said, recovering quickly. “After all, who wants to eat shitty cookies?”

Ellie laughed as Kat almost choked at hearing her response, and after they stopped giggling Kat wiped the corners of her mouth with her napkin.

“You’re awesome Ellie.”

“Well thank you Kat,” Ellie said. “I’ve had a lot of children call me many things over the years, but I don’t think awesome was one of them.”

“Why, are you a teacher?”

“Was,” Ellie said. “I retired at the end of the school year.”

“I could tell,” Kat said. “You seem like the teacher type.”

“Is that good or bad?”

“Depends on the teacher,” Kat responded. “I think in your case it would be good.”

“Speaking of school, I suspect you’ll be heading back in a few weeks,” Ellie said as she refilled their cups. “What grade are you going into?”

“Grade?” Kat asked, crunching her nose up a bit before continuing. “Junior. I’m in college.”

“Oh! I’m sorry!” Ellie said, her mouth open in shock. “Please forgive me.”

“It’s okay. I’m used to it.”

“No. Truly I am sorry. You do look young, but I think it’s because when you get old, everybody looks so young. Years go by fast like months used to for me. You’ll discover what I mean someday.”

“It’s okay. I did skip first grade, so I won’t turn 20 until the second semester,” Kat said.

“A child prodigy,” Ellie said. “Are you happy you skipped a grade?”

“No.”

“I didn’t think so,” Ellie said. “I skipped second, and I always felt like it would have been better with me sticking with kids my own age.”

“You can say that again,” Kat chimed in. “If you’re a little squirt it’s even worse because you not only feel out of place, you look it too! Plus everybody has these big expectations for you, and when you can’t or won’t do what they expect people think you’re a fucking loser.”

“Sorry,” Kat said after she saw the teacher taken aback a bit by her tirade. “Got a little carried away there.”

“I understand. Sometimes you just have to let it out. Good for the soul,” Ellie said with a smile that said she understood. “I should do more of that myself.”

“So how come you moved here?” Kat asked.

“Lots of reasons, but the main one is that the house just was too much,” Ellie admitted. “It wasn’t a big house, but when it just became just me alone it got cavernous. Too much room and too many memories.”

“You – you’re a widow?”

“I guess you could say that, but we weren’t married. Twenty seven years is a long time though,” Ellie said as she picked up the tray and started carrying things inside.

“Living in sin, huh?”

“I guess you could say that too,” Ellie said with a tight-lipped smile as Kat opened the door for her and then followed her inside.

“When did…”

“Almost two years,” Ellie said. “Seems like two weeks.

As she spoke they passed a picture on the bookcase that caught Kat’s eye, and when Ellie turned and saw her looking at it she took a deep breath.

“Is – was this your – oh – partner?” Kat asked, and when Ellie pursed her lips and nodded, the girl nodded back and gave a little smile. “Pretty. She seems like a nice woman.”

“Bethany. She was,” Ellie said, fighting back her emotions as she turned to fiddle with the dishes in the sink, and when she turned back Kat was next to her.

“Didn’t mean to upset you,” Kat said softly. “I have a way of doing that to people.”

“No, you were fine,” Ellie said. “Just still not used to talking about it I guess.”

“Can I hug you?

Kat reached up and put her arms around the taller woman and Ellie returned the embrace, breaking down as they hugged. It took a minute for Ellie to get herself together, but she recovered and went back out to the patio with kaçak iddaa her new friend.

“Your hat,” Ellie said as she gestured to the psychedelic baseball cap Kat was wearing. “I like that. Makes me think of the 60’s.”

“This?” Kat said, pulling it off and looking at it. “I thought you were looking at my hair all this time. People think I’m getting chemo or something.”

“No, as a matter of fact I think your hair is very becoming,” Ellie said as she looked at what seemed to be not much more than peach fuzz on the head. “Must be so cool when it’s hot out.”

“Another one of my ways of staying unpopular,” Kat said. “Girls with crew cuts get looks.”

“On you in looks nice, but your hat – what does that mean? Dilligaf? Is that a team or something?”

“Sort of,” Kat said with a giggle that was infectious. “Not sure if you really want to know what it means.”

“Well Kat, you have my curiosity piqued now,”

Ellie said.

“It stands for Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck,”

Kat explained as she cringed in anticipating Ellie’s reaction.

“Oh, an acronym,” Ellie said as she blushed.

“Well, you did ask,” Kat said.

“I did indeed, and I still like the hat.”

“I gotta take off,” Kat said. “Don’t want to go, but I’ve got a summer job.”

“Well I really am glad we finally got to meet,” Ellie said. “And please feel free to stop by anytime.”

“Better not say that unless you mean it,” Kat warned. “You might end up regretting saying that when I show up tomorrow.”

“Fine by me Kat,” Ellie said. “I’m always here.”

Ellie watched the little woman in the over-sized jacket head across the courtyard and smiled, happy that she had company for once, and went back to her Birds and Blooms magazine.

***

Kat Matthews stopped when she saw Ellie on the patio, and as the woman watered her plants, Kat stood still and watched her. Ellie couldn’t see her because of the plants, but Kat could see fine.

She’s so pretty, Kat thought as she looked at the sun light up her curly shoulder length reddish brown hair, with the sparkling touches of grey making it even more dazzling in her eyes.

“Your name is Eleanor Barton and up until last June you taught fourth grade at Wood Elementary,” Kat said softly to herself as she looked at the woman on the patio who was blissfully unaware of her presence.

“You’re 58 years old but you don’t look it,” Kat whispered almost inaudibly as she recalled everything she had learned about the former teacher after a couple of hours on the Internet. Five foot eight, red hair and green eyes according to DMV, but Kat thought they had a hint of blue in them too.

Graduated from SUNY Cortland in 1974 and taught for 35 years. A finalist for NYS Teacher of the year in 2001 as well. Never married, and while the Internet didn’t mention it, was in a relationship for 27 years with a woman who died two years ago, a concept that must have been even less in favor then than it was now

All that from getting Ellie’s last name off the mailbox, Kat thought as she mentally patted herself on the back and watched her new friend. Ellie was wearing a pretty sleeveless blouse with a floral pattern, and unlike the rather shapeless top she had on yesterday, this was way more flattering.

Kat’s eyes drifted downward, and she smiled when she saw that along with the freckles that she had enjoyed seeing around Ellie’s nose she saw that the outsides of Ellie’s arms had a lot of freckles on them too right up to the shoulders, and because Ellie’s skin was so creamy white they stood out all the more. Nice arms too, Kat noted, slender and nicely shaped.

As Ellie watered the petunias Kat’s eyes went to Ellie’s breasts, which were especially large and full for a slender woman. Kat knew that already from the hug they shared yesterday, but seeing them straining against the snug cotton shell top sent a little shiver down Kat’s spine.

Not wanting to have Ellie peek around the plants to catch her spying on her, Kat took a peek inside the bag she was carrying, not sure whether she was doing the right thing or not because it seemed like she made a habit of doing or saying the wrong thing most of the time, and closed it back up and strolled up to the patio railing whistling so as not to startle Ellie.

“Warned you I’d be back,” Kat said when Ellie saw her, and she was happy when Ellie seemed genuinely glad to see her.

“So you did!” Ellie said. “I’m so pleased that you did.”

“That’s an awesome blouse, Ellie,” Kat said. “You look really hot in it.”

“Oh, this old thing,” Ellie said as she lifted the watering can to spritz the petunias. “Like the owner it has seen better days I’m afraid.”

Kat’s eyes went to Ellie’s nicely shaped bicep muscle caused by the lifting of the can – no flappy bingo upper arms on her – and then Kat’s gaze drifted over to Ellie’s underarm where almost invisible because of the faint pigmentation, Kat was surprised to see a tiny wisp of red hair sprouting from the center of the creamy hollow.

Could you kaçak bahis be any hotter, Kat thought to herself. What would you do if I reached over and slid my fingers over those hairs that fluttered a bit in the breeze? Or my tongue, she added, and then the young woman saw Ellie was aware of Kat’s staring at her.

“Sorry,” Kat mumbled. “I was checking out your freckles. They’re awesome. I love freckles.”

“Well if you can figure out a way to take them off me and put them on you, you’re welcome to them,” Ellie quipped, exposing those flawless teeth as she smiled wide.

Maybe if we rubbed our bodies together, Kat wanted to suggest as she tried to keep herself in check for once.

“Got something for your Grandma?” Ellie said as she nodded toward the bag Kat was holding.

“This? No,” Kat said, fumbling with the bag before handing it across the railing to Ellie. “It’s for you.”

“Me?”

“Yeah. A present,” Kat said.

“What’s the occasion?” Ellie said. “And don’t stand out there like a stranger. Come around and join me.”

“Wanted to just get you something for making me tea and for inviting me back,” Kat mumbled as she walked around the rail onto the little patio. “I should have wrapped it.”

“What you should have done is not spend money on me,” Ellie chided playfully before peeking in the bag and breaking out in laughter.

“Oh Kat!” Ellie cackled as she took the hat out of the bag. “I love it!”

“It adjusts in the back,” Kat said, and when Ellie put the cap on they both laughed. “You said you liked it.”

“I did. Now we’re like sisters!”

Lovers would be better, Kat thought, but when Ellie gave her a hug and a peck on the cheek, the young woman almost swooned.

“Thank you so much,” Ellie said as she tipped the hat a bit askew. “If anybody asks, I’ll tell them what Dilligaf stands for as well, although I might say Fudge instead of the other word.”

“That’s cool.”

“Now for being so thoughtful, you have to have a cup of tea,” Ellie said. “Have a seat and take a load off while I get the pot.”

***

“You did it again Kat, you stupid bitch,” Kat Matthews said to the wind as she hurried across the courtyard away from Ellie’s place while the first drops of rain started to fall.

Everything had been going so well, Kat recalled. Ellie was wearing the hat and they were talking like they were old friends instead of recent acquaintances. It had been muggy and when Ellie suggested that that she might feel more comfortable without the army jacket, Kat had done just that.

Kat remembered thinking that maybe – just maybe Ellie wanted to check out her body so Kat got off the chair and peeled off her outer layer while waiting for Ellie’s reaction to what was underneath the jacket.

Kat wondered which it was that caused Ellie to get all nervous and jerky, averting her eyes so as not to look at her. Maybe it was the loose fitting tank-top, or perhaps it was the fact Kat hadn’t been wearing anything underneath it.

The shirt didn’t leave much to the imagination and from the side Kat knew that you didn’t even need an imagination at all because the sides of her low-hanging breasts were clearly visible as was the jet black hair that sprouted profusely from under her skinny arms.

That couldn’t be it, Kat mused, because the other day she had noticed that Ellie didn’t shave either, although the little wisp under Ellie’s arms looked soft and feminine on her while Kat’s pits looked like a man’s, and her droopy little tits were no turn-on either.

After seeing Ellie’s reaction to seeing her as she really was, Kat had made up an excuse and left as soon as she dared, cursing herself for screwing up yet again. Now as the rain fell Kat walked home and no one who went past her could know which of the drops on her face were rain and which were tears.

***

Ellie stood on the patio and looked at the little shape hurrying across the courtyard, as far away from Ellie’s place as she could get. The older woman was poised to wave if Kat looked in the direction of her patio, but the girl kept her head down and moved quickly towards her grandmother’s.

“Dummy,” Ellie muttered to no one as she scolded herself for the way she had reacted to Kat’s very skimpy attire last week.

The girl didn’t understand, Ellie knew. She didn’t understand herself, and while she couldn’t force things to go back the way they were, Ellie felt obligated to at least apologize, so after putting on a windbreaker and the cap Kat had given her, Ellie headed over to the social area to try and catch her little friend after she would leave her grandmother’s place later.

***

“Hi Kat,” Ellie said in a soft voice when she headed the girl off out in the courtyard, and her young friend had been a bit startled since she had been walking with her head down.

“Oh – hi Ellie,” Kat deadpanned, although a hint of a smile appeared at the corners of her mouth when she saw the cap on the former teacher.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Ellie said.

“Yeah. Work and stuff.”

“How’s your grandmother?” Ellie asked.

“The same. I lasted an hour this time until I got the hint it was time to go,” Kat explained, adding, “I do catch on eventually when I’ve overstayed my welcome.”

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