Friday, February 5, 2010

Lucy and Angela, Two Sisters

When we moved into our apartment in Astoria, we got to know our elderly neighbors, two sisters named Lucy and Angela. They were nice ladies, very independent, both around ninety-years-old. My husband would always bring them their NY Daily News when the weather was crummy or when the elevator was out. They looooooved him. They were both tiny, under five feet tall and they used to go out together to the supermarket and errands. They didn't want you to hold the door for them, they could do it themselves, thank you. Two sisters, sleeping in twin beds. Always chatting about something. Big Obama fans.

We used to stop by their apartment once in a while. They had a great apartment, beautifully furnished, lots of books. Lucy told us this great story about how she worked for years for Parks Department and just loved visiting the big cats at the Central Park Zoo. They ended up naming one of the lions for her. Pretty cool.

So anyway, Lucy died before the holiday, which was shocking because she seemed like the healthier sister. My husband felt really bad. I felt bad too but then my grandmother died just before the new year. That wasn't so much of a surprise but it hurt a lot. My mother said something really great at her funeral. "My parents are doing the merengue in heaven." Romantic, right?

Anyway, I hadn't thought too much about Angela, I'm sad to say. This week, my husband asked me to stop by and see if she was okay. I have to say, I was dreading it. But she let me in and we had a nice talk. She was very brave and funny but she was also very sad and cried a little.

She said that her own life, she'd always wanted her own apartment and how that she had it, she didn't know what to do with it. Her mother and sister always cooked for her so she never learned. She just kept expecting Lucy to walk in the door.

What was strange to me was how happy I was to be sitting in her warm living room. It was nice to talk to her, even if she was sad. I think it has to do with not having been able to say good-bye my grandmother. It was always my biggest fear that she would die when I was out of town. I would give anything to have been there at the end and held her hand. So I held Angela's hand today. It wasn't the same but how could it be?

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