I can remember the first day I met her. It was one of the hottest days in June. She hobbled out of her tiny home on the corner of the street perpendicular to mine. I watched from my back door as she came close to my fence and greeted me in a thick German accent. She spoke excellent English though she had trouble with some words. She let me know that she was the new owner of the house next door. As we began to talk about the neighborhood and our families, a sudden gloom overcame her as she detailed her lovely daughter, who had unfortunately passed away years prior. Tears streamed down her face as she relived those terrible memories once more. I opened my gate and ran around to her yard and gave her a big embrace. She thanked me and brought me inside her new home. I can remember the smell of patchouli as soon as I walked in. She guided me to her bedroom where a picture of her beautiful daughter hung by her side. The deep adoration she had for her daughter filled the air as she brought the picture down and showed it to me. We left her bedroom and made our way to the living room. She set out an array of chocolates and desserts which I gladly accepted; we chatted for at least an hour. She told me stories of her life in Germany and the trials and tribulations that came with being an orphan growing out of the system. She shared her gift of clairvoyance with me and fascinated me with her abilities. Afterwards, we exchanged phone numbers and I left there feeling as though I found one of my best friends.
The next time I visited her, I asked her if she liked tea. She was ecstatic when she found out that I was an avid tea connoisseur. Everyday, I would go over and have little tea parties with her. I would set up the table with little saucers shaped like apples and their matching teacups. I would always bring the tea over in a fancy teapot. She always had dessert on hand. Whether it be ice cream, cake, pie, cookies, you name it, she had it. I can remember distinctly one day that always stuck with me. As I sat upon her couch, her feet propped up against my thighs and she asked me, “Celeste, whose death would impact you the most?” I pondered that question for a moment which she did not expect. She repeated her question before I answered in a hushed voice. “You”, I looked at her, “Your death would impact me the most”. I remember seeing her glassy eyes well up with tears. We sat in silence for a minute before I got up and poured both of us more tea. Some days she even read my tarot cards and told me how bright my future is.
As the days turned to months, our bond just kept becoming stronger and stronger. We fought through hardships together and laughed at the circus that had slowly surrounded her. She always said to me, “Celeste, this is a circus, and we are the ringmasters”. She taught me many things throughout the short span of time that we had been friends. What amazes me the most is how close we had become. I made the comparison one time that she was like a grandmother to me. She was not too pleased with me associating her with an old woman, but she understood the sentiment. She became closer than I ever thought could be possible. She is closer to me than many of my family members ever were.
Just recently she told me something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. As usual for her and I, we were sitting on her couch. She always asked me to help me with paperwork as her understanding of English words written out was not as good as her speech. We had just finished signing the last of it and as I was uploading it to the website, she said to me, “I don’t know what I would do without you”. I smiled, eyes still glued to the screen, “I’m not sure either.” We both chuckled. Her ice cold hand wrapped around my knuckles, causing me to finally take my gaze away from the computer screen. “Celeste,” She softly looked into my eyes, “Now I don’t want your mother to take this the wrong way but I wish you were one of my daughters”. That day changed me forever.