Susan sorted through the boxes of knick-knacks that had been dug out of storage; hoping she could make the apartment a little more comfortable. Iris would be arriving in the afternoon and Susan found herself becoming more nervous as the time grew closer. What if she turned out to be casually racist like Susan's great-grandparents had been? Even remembering some of the things they had said made her cringe.
Forcing these negative and fruitless thoughts from her mind, she concentrated on the latest letter from her brother and the good news that his wife was responding well to treatment. She smiled at the not-so-subtle hint he had made by including a stamped envelope with his letter so she would write back with all her news. He was right to prod her to communicate; under stress she retreated more and more into her shell. And, with everything going on in his life, she needed to let him know that she was managing so he wouldn't waste energy worrying about her.
Humming softly to herself, Susan finished placing items on the shelves and stepped back to study the result. The shelf unit was a find in itself; gold and white, it originally had glass shelves, but those were missing when Danny found it by the trash. They had re-purposed some wire mesh to make new shelves and here it was being useful again.
A thump at the door turned her around as Max, the landlord, carried in a large, oak rocking chair. "Ugh," he grunted as he set it down. "They made things solid in the old days. I've got her clothes and the rest in the truck. Bonnie is taking Iris out to lunch so we have time to put them away."
Susan helped him carry in the few boxes of belongings and began hanging clothes in the closet. "Ahem." She looked up in surprise to find him standing in the bedroom door looking uncomfortable. "I hope you don't find this too much work but Bonnie is worried that Iris might fall and hurt herself. She has a shower chair and I've taken off the bathroom lock so hopefully there won't be any problems. She doesn't get up before 9:00 because, according to her, all the good shows are on at night."
"That's alright then; I'll cook her breakfast while she showers and make sure she gets her medication for the day. Anything else?"
"Remember that Sundays are for family, so we'll take her to our place for the day and you can relax."
"Okay, but if there is a change in schedule, just let me know and I'll be here." Susan smiled ruefully as she thought about how much of her time would be spent cooking in the future, but it was honest, needed work and she was grateful.
Not long thereafter, Bonnie and Iris arrived. Susan hung back, feeling a little shy while the newest tenant was settled on the rocking chair. She was interested to observe a tall, well-padded woman with wispy, white hair. There was something a bit vague about the way she looked around the room, but she seemed content to roll with the changes in her life and, when introduced, smiled pleasantly.
After arranging to return at five to cook supper, Susan escaped back to her own apartment. In the bathroom, she stared at herself in the mirror and delivered a pep-talk, "This ought to shake you out of your rut and feeling sorry for yourself. It's an adventure and change is growth. Now give her a chance to become a friend." With a firm nod she decided to go for a run to keep her mood up.