Here is a continuation of David's story that we posted on Friday. We met at the kitchen at the YWCA in Burlington, Vermont, where I had started a new life with a new name, Linda.
“Is Janis doing OK and getting along with every one?” I asked wondering how Janis’s behavior was being received among her housemates.
Maureen shuttered and said nothing. Linda was more direct. She was the voice of polite directness.
“Janis has been spooking everyone by lurking around the house at odd times of the night and day.” She said with her calm even v oice. She had a lovely feminine voice I noted.
“You never know were or when she will show up!” Maureen piped up. “She is very weird.” She added.
“She has been like this since she broke-up with her boyfriend, Richard. It’s too bad.” I observed. I was letting on that she was someone I cared about, but not romantically involved.
“So she is not your girlfriend?” Linda caught on to my delight.
“Not really.” I responded tentatively.
I couldn’t tell them Janis was someone I’d been considering, but was honestly turned off by her peculiar behavior.
“I moved her here from her parent’s house because she asked me.” I said. “I’ve been checking in on her because I know she’s been troubled.”
“It’s nice of you to do that.” Linda said. She took the pot of chickpeas off the stove and drained them in the sink. In graceful confident motions, she moved about the kitchen on her powerful calves exposed under a long pleated wool skirt. She added the chickpeas to a salad she had been preparing, “Would you like salad with chickpeas?” she offered.
“Sure, I’ve never had chickpeas on salad before, but I’ll try it,” I said, as if I never tasted this unusual food before.
Maureen abruptly left the kitchen. “I’ve got to go.” she said and blew out the side door as if a gust of wind caught her.
Linda and I were now alone in the kitchen. She served up a portion of her chickpea salad in a bowl, handed it to me, and sat down at the table.
“Would you like to sit down?” she asked.
“Okay.” I said a little off guard by her directness. There was nothing coy about her. This had to be the Amish girl – she acted like someone who knew her way around a kitchen, was honestly direct, and had the solid body of someone who knew work. This was my kind of woman and I knew it instantly. Any interest in Janis dissolved in the clarity and aura of Linda.
“Are you the Linda from the Amish community?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said. Her brown eyes lit up.
“Are you from Ohio?” I asked.
“Yes Burton, Ohio, outside of Cleveland,” she responded enthusiastically.
“My father is from Cleveland. My grandmother and sister still live there,” I said finding a foothold to relate to someone from another world.
“Oh reeeally!” she exclaimed.
“Did you get around by horse and buggy?” I asked.
“Yes, my family owned a house and buggy,” she answered.
We talked for the rest of the afternoon about the Amish religion, her mother, the bishops, her brothers and sisters, tornados in Ohio, and anything that came to mind. It was wonderful. At one point the topic of cameras came up.
“The Amish don’t allow cameras. I’m I right?” I asked.
Linda’s eyes brightened and a cute wary smile appeared.
“My brother had one on the sly,” she said. “Want to see some pictures of my sisters and brothers?” she asked gleefully.
“Sure!” I said.
She bolted across the kitchen, and pounded up a hidden staircase with her powerful calves. She returned with a handful of poorly lit images of a world I only imagined until now — images of her sisters on a hike somewhere and a brother she spoke of in a careful tone.
We must have talked in the kitchen for hours. When I arrived the sun was as bright and as high as it gets in January. Now it was dark outside and I didn’t care. I met someone extraordinary and my life was about to change forever.