44 Cherry Street: Ellie Explains Herself. Sort of.
Lorraine and Ellie were seated across from each other in Lorraine’s living room. Frederick was beside them but absorbed completely in his book. A tornado could travel through the room and Frederick wouldn’t notice if he was deep into a book. Little did he know but an emotional bomb shell was about to erupt at 44 Cherry Street.
As Lorraine took her first sip of Asheville Tea Company’s Asheville Grey Tea from her translucent china tea cup, Ellie dropped the bomb. “The reason I had to get far away from Illinois was the state was way too blue. I’m a fragile person and it upset me to be around those people.”
Lorraine’s cup jittered in her hand and she had to set it down before she spilled tea on the silk upholstery of her antique arm chair. “Blue people? What exactly do you mean by that? Are you talking about ladies with blue hair? Members of Blue Man Group? Very cold people? How blue?” She was hoping they were not about to talk politics.
She was about to be disappointed. Ellie explained, “I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m talking about the D word. I shudder to say it: Democrats. I honestly do not understand what they are thinking! They are so concerned about immigrants that they forget about us Americans. Those immigrants are taking our jobs! They need to go back where they came from!”
Lorraine was at a temporary loss for words. She was an Independent, but that was just another name for Democrats in her book. And her mother had been a refugee from El Salvador. She had come to this country and worked at McDonald’s and cleaned houses for people until she and her father had married and built a successful life. Finally Lorraine spoke, “Ellie, I am sorry you feel that way. I regret to inform you that we will have to agree to disagree. But let me ask you something. How long has your family been in this country?”
Ellie thought for a second and scratched her nasty gray head. “In this country? My grandparents came to America way back in the 1900’s.”
Lorraine took a deep breath. “Well then, weren’t they immigrants?”
“No!” objected Ellie. “They were Europeans! Immigrants are from down there. You know where I’m talking about, don’t you? Europeans built this country, and those people want to steal it from us. We need to build a wall for sure. And those Mexicans are going to pay for it. Our President said so.”
Lorraine knew she was going to explode if she didn’t change the subject. She had already figured out that her hands were shaking too badly for her to take a chance on the tea, so it sat getting cold on the little tea table beside her. “So Ellie, are you single? I haven’t seen a husband with you, or has he just not yet arrived?”
“It’s complicated,” explained Ellie. “I do have a husband, but he’s not so nice.”
“Oh, is he a Democrat?” asked Lorraine.
“Heavens no!” screeched Ellie. “I would have left him years ago. He is just a little rough with me and my daughter, and he killed our dog. Actually I have a restraining order on him. He’s still in Illinois where he deserves to stay with those immoral blue people.”
“A little rough?” questioned Lorraine.
“He gets upset and hits me sometimes, and he has broken a few of my smaller bones, and he didn’t like the dog’s barking. It was more like yapping. Lulu was a Pomeranian and had this nervous little yap. It drove Dave crazy, so he drop kicked her and she died.”
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Lorraine glanced at Suki, curled up in her favorite spot and imagined some big Neanderthal kicking her. It was bad enough when Ellie’s idiotic movers had pushed her away with their galumphing feet, but the idea of a person so perverted that he could drop kick a Pomeranian…That was too much! Lorraine burst into tears and ran into the bathroom.
The sudden movement distracted Frederick from his book. Looking up at Ellie, he realized for the first time that they had a guest. “Well!” he boomed. “And who might you be?”
Ellie, sipping her tea and unaware of the emotions she had stirred up in Lorraine introduced herself. “I’m Ellie Hitler, your new neighbor!”
“Unusual name,” remarked Frederick.
“It’s a family name. I’m a bit of a rebel so when I married Dave, I kept my maiden name.”
Frederick was one of the kindest, least judgmental people in the world, so he made no comment. “Ms. Hitler, may I call you Ellie?”
“Of course,” giggled Ellie.
“Ellie, will you join us for dinner? You must be exhausted with the move and all.”
“Oh! Thank you!” said Ellie. “I’d love to.”
“And where might Lorraine be? Do you have any idea?”
Little did he know that Lorraine was sitting on top of the toilet seat sobbing as she thought about that poor dead dog and wishing that Ellie had not just moved in next door. And little did she know that the tofu stir-fry she was about to prepare for dinner would have to stretch to accommodate a dinner guest. And that that guest was her new neighbor.