Little Lambs Eat Ivy 3
She straightened up and said, “I’m sorry Mr. Fletcher, you don’t know the punchline yet. You were the first man on Deen Gardens’ list and I was the first woman. Your name is Adam, and I’m Eve. Isn’t that rich?”
“Well, I’ll be. That is a funny coincidence.”
“Funnier still that Dr. Deen didn’t catch it. Fellow thinks he knows everything, just because he’s a famous therapist.” Eve rolled her eyes skyward. “That speech he gave yesterday. The part about ‘the unique psyche that sets our seniors apart from the rest of society.’ It isn’t right, you know? Folks are folks. It isn’t natural to set us apart just because we’re older and wiser. It’s a whole big world.” She shook her head, eyes down, another bout of laughter threatening the corners of her mouth.
“How I go on, and I haven’t even offered you a seat. Awful hot out here already and I’d hate to see you faint. Won’t you sit and visit?” Eve patted the small portion of bench unoccupied by her ample thighs. Adam tipped his cap before settling down next to her.
“If that’s how you feel,” he said, “then what are you doing here, away from the big world?”
Eve threw her head back, as if imploring the sky. “Oh, this isn’t my choice. I have two sons; twins, actually. Ken and Albert. They wanted me in here. I asked you before if you had kids, but I don’t think you answered.”
Adam swallowed before speaking. “No, I don’t believe I answered that. I don’t have children.”
“That’s a shame. I love children. They tie you to the world, keep you looking at it in new ways. My sons are good boys, but they fight all the time. They own a business together and with them all it is is work, work, work. I tell them they need to start families of their own, stop fighting with each other, stop fussing over me. Anyway, they own a landscaping business and they put in a bid to landscape Deen Gardens. I think they lowballed just so they’d have some leverage to get me in here. Anyway, they won the bid.”
“Really? I’ve been walking around the place all morning and they did a beautiful job.”
Eve shook her head. “Not ‘they’. After they won the bid, good old Dr. Deen wanted them each to submit a design rather than work together. He picked Albert’s and really went out of his way to insult Ken’s work. It was like he was experimenting with them. I don’t know how he could do that to my boys.
“Ken threatened to kill the deal. Albert wasn’t about to let that happen, so he called and warned Deen, who had an ironclad contract anyway. It was ugly.”
“I can imagine.”
Eve sighed, looked down at her hands. “The boys moved me in here without speaking a word to each other until the end, when Ken says to Albert, ‘You’re dead to me.’ Broke my heart to hear it. He’s always been dramatic, but I think he means it this time.”
Adam had the sudden urge to grab Eve’s hand. He wanted to say something funny that would bring back her amazing laugh. Instead he said, “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Eve looked at him and smiled. “Listen to me, telling you all my problems. I’m really not like this. Not sad, I mean. As for talking someone’s leg off, well, that is me.”
Eve spoke the truth, as Adam discovered. They spent another hour on the bench talking about this and that, before they went inside for lunch. Adam couldn’t believe how many people Eve already knew by name. Kitty became Emily, the Peacocks Walter and Annie “Anners” Spencer, Frog and Toad were Rupert and Dennis. Several groups insisted Eve sit with them, but she managed to turn them all down gracefully, without offending anyone. Instead, she led Adam to the little table against the wall where he had sat the previous day. He felt like the new kid in school who had somehow charmed the prom queen. He liked the feeling....