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Nothing interesting ever happened in her neighborhood. Or so she thought.
“Who’s the president?” the doctor asked when we arrived at the ER . “What’s your birthday? What is your mother’s name?”
It took me a second, but the answers came. I put the whole story together for Mom and the doctor.
“I was going to lie there, but a woman called to me. She stayed with me until I was able to get up.”
“Who? Was it Gail? Or Mrs. Sunkes?” Mom asked, naming neighbors one by one.
“I didn’t recognize her,” I said.
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“You didn’t recognize her?” Mom couldn’t understand why a stranger would be walking on Willow Lane. Come to think of it, neither could I. There were no other roads around ours. No sidewalks leading there. The only people who walked on Willow Lane were the people who lived on it. And we knew everyone.
“It’s a good thing you didn’t just lie there,” the doctor said. “You would have fallen asleep with a minor concussion—never a good idea.”
When we returned home, I joined my parents on the couch. My dad switched on a movie. I grabbed one of my mother’s yarn skeins and rolled it into a ball. We sat quietly, grateful for the calm.
If I didn’t see that woman, I might still be out there in the rain, I thought as I rested my head on my mom’s shoulder. But instead I was warm. Safe. Somehow, it had never occurred to me to appreciate that before.
The following morning my mother asked around the neighborhood to find out who had been out walking at twilight, wearing a yellow coat. No one knew what she was talking about. She never found an answer.
Turns out, sleepy old Willow Lane had at least one mysterious stranger. And my boring world held a few surprises after all.
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