Pine Street Episode 101

Life doesn’t sort itself neatly into episodes, or in multiples of ten. This is our one-hundred and first visit to Pine Street, occurring somewhere around a year and a half since our first day there, hanging out with Franny in her new, nearly-bare apartment. The lives of the denizens of Pine Street should pause, so they can have a moment to reflect, and make some important choices about how to move forward.

But the pauses life sends do not always correspond with our wishes for the means of delivery. We hope they will come as beautiful vacations to tropical beaches, or lovely escapes to snowed-in yet cozy mountain cabins, or well-earned prizes for our creative contributions.

The wisdom of the universe finds that these carefully constructed pauses miss the mark. We do not take advantage of them as we ought. We  remove ourselves from the gorgeous beach with our smart phones, or we spend our time in the cabin worried about the work we are missing, or we undermine our own accomplishments with doubt about whether we truly deserve them.

So, life sends us other opportunities for reflection.

This one came to Leo and Franny in the form of a big black Jeep, a collision, and a disappearing dog.

It was delivered by the least likely person, the person who the Pine Street regulars all reacted to with unease, at best, and suspicion, at worst.

David had knocked Leo over, spirited Precious away from the scene, and left Franny angrily wondering what he was up to, what he wanted from her. Did David want her to chase after Precious so he could draw her further into whatever he was up to, taking over Marilyn’s house? Or was he simply trying to work his way deeper into the neighborhood fabric of Pine Street?

At the same time, watching the ambulance drive Leo away, Franny sensed the invitation life had offered to reflect on her choices.

Before the collision, kissing Leo had sent a warm glow into the space around her heart, a space that had closed itself off since her divorce, a space that had held nothing but cold, damp, and mold. Something alive woke up in that space during their embrace, like a cat uncoiling from a nap, stretching, yawning, wondering why its dish was empty, when it was so, so hungry.

Life, like a cat asking for breakfast, invited Franny to choose to fill the empty spot around her heart with warm nourishment.

This time, she wanted to respond. But first, she had to find Precious.

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