44 Cherry Street is a fictional account of some fictional characters who live in Black Mountain.
Lorraine is the only remaining resident of the four-plex after Covid and the landlord’s upgrading of the building led to changes. Rents in Black Mountain have gone through the roof and the landlord realized he was charging too little. He too raised the rent and everyone save Lorraine left. Full disclosure, Lorraine’s husband Frederick left too, but not because of the rent. Ever since Lorraine ran away to Mexico and had a torrid affair with El Chapo, she hasn’t been the same.
A recent change for Lorraine has been the arrival of a new boyfriend she met at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. Mac Buchanan is a free spirit who loves Nature and pretends to have a job (selling used magazines.) He can be very charming, and it didn’t take long for him to move in to Lorraine’s apartment.
I checked in with Lorraine this week. She had accumulated six large bags of recycling in her tiny apartment, and she was hurrying to get them outside to the curb before Mac returned from his hike at Warren Wilson. “What the hell, Lorraine!” I exclaimed. “Where did all this junk come from? You are such a minimalist.”
“It’s Mac!” she responded. “He can’t stand to get rid of anything. He saw me collecting the old newspapers he throws all over the place and asked me what I was doing.”
“He didn’t want you to recycle the newspapers?”
“Right! He said he needed them because he might want to reread them.”
I was confused, “Who rereads old news?”
She answered as she scurried around stuffing things into the blue bag, “Well he certainly does not. He just gets attached to things. He is more concerned with cleaning up the hiking trails and streets of Black Mountain than he is with keeping this apartment tidy. As he hikes he collects any garbage he sees on the trail, which is a good thing. But he brings home empty plastic bottles, bags, banana peels and apple cores and drops them on the floor of the living room. And you should see the floor of his car! There is an entire ecosystem living there. Bugs, mice, and I even saw a snake.”
‘It sounds like you are getting tired of Mac,” I speculated.
“Oh, a little I guess. But nobody’s perfect! I know I’m not. And at this age there is more chance Of my getting hit by lightening than meeting anyone else. I was lonely before!”
“But Lorraine, is it that important to you to have a partner?”
She thought for a minute before she answered. “I like having someone around so I don’t have to cook for just myself. My number one requirement for a man is that he have a good appetite.”
“That’s not a whole lot!” I said. “You could just adopt a big dog.”
“Then I’d have to walk it. At least Mac walks himself.”