Pine Street Episode 30

“So how do people here deal with it? The wind, I mean,” Franny asked as she put her groceries away, leaving the bread out for slicing.

“It never really bothers me.” Leo sat on the love seat Franny had added to her motley collection of living room furniture. “So I don’t know. Does it bother you?”

The expression on Leo’s face struck Franny as comical – halfway between serious concern and disdain for a person so wimpy as to let a little thirty-mile-an-hour breeze bother them. Over the top he layered an eager gaze at the crock pot behind her.

A small but genuine laugh burst out of her. “What’s funny?” Leo asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. You. Life. Wind. Are you hungry? I’m famished.” She ladled two mugs full of soup and arranged bread slices on a plate. “Let’s eat and talk about something other than the weather.”

“Deal.” Leo broke a piece of bread and took a bite. After some thoughtful chewing he asked, “How are you liking this apartment? Is there anything that needs fixing?”

Again his expression made Franny laugh. “No. I mean, I love it. It’s great. Everything works fine.”

“How about lamps? Do you have enough mood lighting?”

It struck Franny as a bit absurd, but also sweet, a question that no one else would think to ask. “As a matter of fact, I kind of hate the overhead light fixtures. But lamps are awfully expensive.”

“I’ve got some. What do you like?” Leo’s eagerness touched her. Franny felt tears threaten to reveal themselves and she sniffed them back, grabbing a napkin.

“You okay?”

“Oh, sure. Just the hot soup causing my nose to run.” Franny hoped Leo hadn’t noticed she hadn’t actually sipped the soup yet, and to cover her little white lie, she lifted her mug and slurped. “I don’t want to put you out. I mean, I’m already using your table and camp chairs.”

“Hey, I’ve got table lamps I’m not using. It’d be great to see them here.”

“How about floor lamps? I don’t have a lot of tables yet.”

“That’s okay. I’ve got tables, too.”

Something else shone through Leo’s expression at that moment. A sort of light, or glow. In response to it, Franny felt a throb of longing. Since her divorce she couldn’t remember anyone being so interested in the minutiae of her living situation, so eager to offer her stuff. The attention was intoxicating.

Franny wondered if this is what falling in love in mid-life felt like, if it often happened over soup and through conversations about used lamps.

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