At around 9:00 o’clock in the morning I was sitting in my car, on Park Avenue across from the Amtrak parking lot listening to B.B. King sing a duet with Roger Daltrey, the vocalist of The Who.
Between the prestigious college campus and the Morse Museum, Park Avenue was lined with shops and cafes on one side of the street. Across from the upscale boutiques and eateries was the park itself. Large oak trees shaded several blocks of open space. There were benches under some of the trees. The grass of the park was freshly mowed and the bushes of bright red pentas were in full bloom.
I watched as people made use of the parallel parking skills they learned in high school. They maneuvered their cars between the evenly spaced white lines, which became more difficult as the parking spots filled up. In this situation, the compulsion to arrive early paid off. Hungry parking meters lined the sidewalk waiting to eat coins. Those feeding them were literally buying time.
“One hour parking between 9 AM and 6 PM.” Red words painted on white signs.
I heard the clicking of heels and looked in my rearview mirror. The woman carried a large, scarlet leather satchel which matched her pumps. Her heart shaped face was framed with black hair that curved in toward her chin, accentuating perfectly painted red lips. Shoulders back, head erect, she was rushing down the sidewalk as if it were a fashion runway.
Instinct told me that she was late to work. Distracted, she didn’t notice my car or hear the music emanating from it.
She was almost even with my window when she stopped suddenly and sneezed. Then again. And again. She had tried to stifle the first sneeze but the second and third one could not be held back.
“God bless you,” I said, through the open window of my car.
She turned and stared at me silently for a moment. The impression was that of a manikin that had become human against her will.
“Thank you,” she said. In one fluid motion she leaned her head down pushing her hand into her red bag and pulling out a tissue just before another sneeze contorted her face. I watched to see how such a carefully put-together woman could blow her nose without messing her makeup. She dabbed at her nose with the tissue trying not to smudge the outline of lipstick. I looked away.
When I looked back, she had turned and was crossing the railroad tracks. She approached the Amtrak station’s ticket window and, once again, reached into her satchel retrieving a wallet. A transaction took place.
Within minutes I heard the horn and then the clacking of the train as it slowed to a full stop in front of the small station. The woman turned away from the building. She walked stiffly to the second car of the train and boarded.
A man had stepped off the train carrying a guitar case. Moments later, he saw my car, crossed the tracks, leaned into the window and kissed me.
“I’ve missed you,” he said. We kissed again.
“Get in,” I said. “Let’s go home.”