It’s been a rainy day, quickly going from drizzle to downpour. After running some errands this morning, James & I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on bills, housework, etc. Around dinner time, James stepped out to snag the soggy newspaper from our stoop. Val was out on hers, shouted over to see how we’re doin’. James said good, did some grocery shopping today. Val responds, Oh! Is she gonna cook?!

Val is always asking me if I’m gonna cook. Of course she always catches me on the weekends, when we usually have leftovers, or succumb to the siren song of our local cheesesteak place (hey, we’re human). She got tired of yelling from across the street to James, anyway, so she came on over. She wandered around inside asking me what’s for dinner, I told her ice cream. She started laughing. So I asked her what she made for dinner. “Chinese!” she said enthusastically. She said it’s because her granddaughter was over and wore her out. (This is the HUGE grandbaby mentioned earlier by the way, grandbaby-zilla). She’s learning how to walk and all the neighbors tease her saying now she can finally get some exercise and lose some weight. It’s pretty hilarious. Val brought her by the other day, and there was ‘zilla, hanging on to grandma with one hand, the rest of her body dangling. She stared up at me wide-eyed, never blinking, a thousand neon barrettes dotting her hair. Her expression was somewhere between desperation and determination, and I thought how strange this must look to a passerby. Some white girl standing on her stoop, looking down on a black, neon-barretted monster baby’s half-hearted attempts to walk. It felt special, it feels neat to be a part of grandbaby’s growing up. (No, she still doesn’t have a name. All the neighbors call her Little Mama).

Anyway after chatting for awhile Val asked if we were doin’ ok (again). She’s even more attentive now that there is a huge for-sale sign on our stoop (more on that later… maybe). She opened the front door and there in front of us was a roaring deluge, rain slamming down sideways. “Shoot!” she said (or something like it). We offered her the umbrella but she refused. “It won’t hurt me! Man!” she said. “I ain’t never visting y’all again!!” And off she ran into the dark.