It was mid-April of 2018 and a record-breaking snowstorm was rolling in. The original plan for the weekend was supposed to be a friend's bridal brunch and wine tour. But as the weather reports became more and more menacing, the bride-to-be made the wise judgment call to reschedule festivities in favor of a later date.
With plans cancelled and snow accumulating inch-by-inch outside my apartment building, I hunkered down for what figured would be a cozy and relaxing weekend indoors. However, as Friday turned into Saturday, and Saturday turned into Sunday - "cozy" began to feel a lot more like "confined".
Cabin fever was kicking in. I don't have a TV, Netflix, or Facebook. So I read. I watched YouTube videos. I listened to music. I cleaned. I called my mom. I read. I face-timed friends out of state. I face-timed friends in state. I read more. I built a tiny snowman on my balcony. I baked cookies.
The latter was the red flag. I'd liken myself casually baking cookies to a cat casually going for a swim. Capable? Yes. Normal behavior? No.
Feeling the space suddenly get smaller around me, I opened the door to the hallway of my apartment and propped it ajar. As I pulled the baking pan out of the oven and set it aside cool, I decided that if anyone walked past, I'd offer them a cookie.
Where I live, there are two floors with individual apartments running down both sides of long halls. The rent is affordable and the building is handicap accessible – it naturally attracts a fair amount of senior residents.
I was just topping off my cookies with frosting and sprinkles when a small woman with whitish grey hair and thin-framed glasses peaked in – somewhat curiously – through my open door. Starved for real human interaction, and recognizing this as a golden opportunity, I grabbed my plate of cookies and said "Hi! Would you like a cookie?" and held it out in front of me like a peace offering.
Perhaps a little surprised, she smiled and timidly accepted. It didn't take long into our introductory conversation for me to realize that my visitor, though she was soft spoken, certainly wasn't shy. Sensing she was craving human interaction as much as I was, I invited her in for a cup of warm coffee with her cookie.
We sat down together and, as we visited, the time went from minutes to hours. At one point, we were discussing the snowstorm outside and she recapped an incident that occurred earlier that day. She told me how she had attempted to walk outside our building in the storm and wound up caught in a snow bank! Fortunately, a Good Samaritan was passing by and was able to help her out. I listened and nodded my head in wide-eyed affirmation at the word "fortunately", trying hard not to imagine the alternate scenario, minus her rescuer.
Eventually, cookies consumed, coffee cooled, and conversation wound down, so we made our way back to my open door where first met and said farewell for the day.
Farewell… for the day. As I watched my newfound friend make her way slowly down the corridor and back into her apartment – something in my heart knew – it wouldn’t be the last time I'd have coffee with my company.