I was out in the garden, there were so many weeds. Mom had always said that plants were crowded out and if you wanted your bushes or planted to be healthy, then you needed to give them room to get plenty of sun and food. I wasn’t sure how much sun they were getting. As my eyes refocused back to earth, the tall man with the cinnamon hair ,who had sounded so sharp in the kitchen and the hallway several days back, was now walking towards me.
Coming down the pathway, looking completely out of place, he looked down at me. Frowning and scrunching up his nose as if the whole of native plant life smelled unpleasant. “Joy and Marie seem to think that I could be of help to you. They didn’t know” – he stepped on a whole tuff of dandelions, “I don’t do well with transplants.” He walked back towards the side door.
I wiped my nose with the back of my hand. “With what?” I left my piles of pulled up weeds and seeds on the gravel . A flock of birds were punctuating the air with their calls. I looked for them but I didn’t’ see them.
The humid air was getting heavy and dirty. The sky looked light gray and pale purple. I stood up with my gloves in my hand. I wanted to go in anyway. The tea should still be on the side table.
Entering the darkness of the room, he stopped and did a slow survey of the room. “I always thought the room was logically laid out.” He circled the couch, sidestepping the work/coffee table.
” I don’t understand the attraction of it. It’s too far away and too small, but if I want to find people then they seem to be here.” He sat on the couch, depositing his box, he stretched out his legs.
” I was told that you were out walking in the median on your own.” The way he said it, I thought I was being accused of skipping out on curfew!. The hair on my neck itched. ‘blast it all, I hadn’t done anything wrong’ the thought slowed my response. Joy’s friend? or?
“Excuse me, I don’t recall your name..” I spread out my fingers and held up my hands. ” I was out walking, the grounds are so wide and friendly. Who ever works on them, does a terrific job” This is the tactic I had used for defusing a difficult person. ‘ I had wanted to turn in a compliment for the grounds, anyway’ I thought to myself.
” I understand that you had a talk with Peters ” He looked up at me and went silent as a statute. I met his gaze with a stony one of my own. “I went walking out on the center grounds. Since most of my friends were tied up with their proj-responsibiities, I wanted a break from my work. I guess I needed some change of scenery.” I crossed in front of him and sat down on the center of the couch.( at least, it wasn’t MY couch ) . He rummaged through his box, without responding to anything I said. He pulled out a bag and dumped the coins on the table top. Wincing I hope that the coins didn’t scratch up or damage the table top. There were some that I recognize from coffees and some that appeared very old. I looked at the man and waited.
He drew in a sigh. ” I suppose that it wouldn’t hurt to review coinage. I have heard that the small growing communities trade with other things besides coinage.” He rubbed his nose and glanced over the mess. ” Let’s start with frequent ones. Pick out a quarta and a deci, everyone knows those, I supposed that is why we all have so much of the things .” He rolled his eyes skyward and his chin rocked back and forth. I pulled out a quarter and a dime. I was tempted to put the coins in order to hurry this along. “He was not accommodating ,the guy with the ponytail, I just wanted to buy something to eat and a drink. I asked a couple of simple questions” I commented, trying to explain the problem was the guy, NOT my math skills! Joy’s friend look over all the coins and then at me.
” You probably would do far better to listen FIRST!” He looked over the table top and added “pay attention to what coins are and how to use them. Instead of taking up someone’s time trying to keep you from making trouble. ” He pulled out some papers, some mini boxes and a timer.