Deborah Broad


Changes on Cherry Street

Months have gone by since we peeked in on the residents of 44 Cherry Street. While many things have changed, certain things have stayed the same.  The building is a four-plex with two apartments on each floor. Three of the apartments have changed hands, Peter the prepper  has moved out of his unit, and has relocated completely to the backyard where his compound is growing, so Barry, the landlord has leased his unit and is charging Peter rent to live in the backyard.

The only remaining inhabitant of 44 Cherry Street is Lorraine, an eternal optimist, who shares her apartment with her precious furball, Suki, and a rescue longhair cat from the Humane Society she calls Peaches. She has elegant style, a warm heart, and a sharp wit, but is longing for a man in her life.

When we last saw Lorraine she was even considering welcoming Peter the prepper into her life, but was dissuaded by his rank odor, his hare-brained ideas, and his bad table manners. Besides, he wanted her to move out into his yurt in the backyard rather than his moving back indoors, and she couldn’t face moving her grandmother’s antique marquetry breakfront into the yurt. The humidity would ruin it. And would her Frette linens survive the sleeping bag?

Her other alternative was When we last checked in with her, she was “winking” at John Kelly, a law professor living in Johnson City Tennessee. She was hesitating about meeting him, but was encouraged by her friend Chelsea, the wild woman owner of the cool Curiosity Shoppe in the Cherry Street Courtyard. Chelsea told her to go for it, and while she was at it, to also go for a tattoo. While Lorraine would go for a face lift before she would get a tattoo, she took Chelsea’s advice and made a date with John.

Lorraine opened her computer with Suki curled up on the floor beside her and Peaches the cat on her lap. She wanted to look at his face again to memorize it before they were to meet at City Bakery downtown and then go to see a movie at The Fine Arts Theater. He was a handsome fellow with thick salt and pepper hair and an intelligent look in his eyes. He reminded her a little bit of Perry Mason. “Well call me Della Street,” she thought.

She pictured herself sitting in the courtroom wearing a new Eileen Fisher outfit watching as John Kelly defended a falsely-accused defendant and impressed the jury with his well-chosen words. How proud she would be when he explained to the jury that his cherished wife Lorraine was his inspiration. First thing she would do, though, was prepare herself for her first date with John.

She stopped by Chifferobe where Robert and his dog Sirius were working. Robert believed that the world began and ended with soaps and lotions from Greenwich Bay, and before she knew what was happening, she was paying Robert for a large shopping bag full of Passion Flower soap, lotion, and dusting powder. “He will swoon when he meets you!” Robert assured her.

She crossed the street to Mountain Nest and Colleen sold her a silver pin shaped like a cat to pair with the shih-tsu pin she always wore. Hopefully, John was an animal lover!

Then she walked up to Periwinkle and Connie helped her choose a white linen blouse she would wear on her date. Wearing something new always gave Lorraine confidence. Now she was prepared with her great scent, her bling, and her new blouse. She was confident and ready.

Saturday came quickly, and Lorraine took her time bathing and dressing for her date. She bade good-bye to Suki and Peaches and drove to Asheville to meet John Kelly at City Bakery. Half way to town she remembered that she had forgotten to put cash in her wallet, but reassured herself that John Kelly, law professor and “old school”, would surely insist on paying for her snack and the movie.

She parked in the lot across the street on Biltmore Avenue, refreshed her lipstick and fluffed her hair before locking the car and heading to the bakery. Her heart pounding, she opened the door of the bakery and looked around for her date. The only other customer in the store was a wizened old man engrossed in a newspaper and who didn’t even look up when she entered. “OH no!” she thought. “Has he stood me up?”