”Oh, I’m so tired,” I groan.
I flop onto a chair in my tiny apartment, kick off my sandals, and sigh. I notice the light on the answering machine blinking, so I hit the button.
“Charlice? Honey, thiz iz Tante Rosi. I’m comingue over in aboud twenty minutes. I haf zom new thangs for your apartment. Be there zoon.”
“Oh, Lord, please,” I pray, ”not Tante Rosi today.”
If there’s a woman who’s more intrusive and obnoxious than my Tante Rosi, I’ve yet to meet her. I check the time on the answering machine and see that I have five minutes to get out of here if I want to avoid her. I slip my feet back in my sandals and head to the mall.
The air-conditioned building cools my nerves and for a few minutes, I feel guilty about ditching out on Tante Rosi. I know she means well, but there’s just no way to curb her enthusiastic meddling.
Since I’ve moved close to her for my new job, she hasn’t missed a day coming to my apartment. She’s brought me dinner, gotten my mail, and watered my plants. She even went along when I did my laundry, tsking the whole time over the “dirty und filsy” conditions of the Laundromat. She was right, but c’mon…it was a Laundromat!
One day, my old beat-up car had broken down and I’d had no way to get groceries. I’d called Tante Rosi to see if she could drive me. It just so happened that Tante Rosi’s car was in the shop, too, but did that stop her? No. She’d had a friend drop her off at my door, her arms laden with the makings for “spaetzle und Weiner schnitzel”.
As we’d cleaned up after dinner, I’d joked that I’d have to eat schnitzel for breakfast since my cupboards and fridge were bare. Big mistake.
She’d happily asserted that we could walk to the grocery to get “zome zings”…it would be “fun for der bode of uz” and “gut for uz, too.” Never mind that the grocery was five miles away, and never mind that we’d have to walk along a 4-lane highway…oh no…it would be “fun for der bode of uz”. I must have been out of my mind to go along with her zany idea.
Everything had gone surprisingly well until the trip back. Tante Rosi had suddenly decided that we were walking on the wrong “site of der roat”, and she wanted to cross four lanes of zooming traffic to the “udder site”.
“C’mon, now. Vee hurry und git ober dere!” and she’d yanked me out into traffic behind her.
“Tante Rosi!” I’d screamed, “We’ll get killed!”
She’d calmly replied, “Nonzenze…dey stop, dey stop.”
And stop they did. Four lanes of rush-hour traffic had come to a screeching halt while two crazy women strolled across the highway, clutching brown paper grocery bags in their arms. I’d wanted to apologize to each and every driver, but shame had kept my chin tucked to my chest as I’d meekly followed behind Tante Rosi like a duckling following her mama. The stunned drivers had been so dazed by our stupidity, they hadn’t even honked their horns.
I shake my head at the memory as I stroll past the storefronts. I spend two more hours at the mall before I start home, but as I approach my apartment, I catch a glimpse of light coming from under the door. No. She couldn’t still be… here? I swing open the door and there stands Tante Rosi, her arms wide and her face lit with pleasure.
“Charlice! Velcome home! I decidet dat dis place needs zomezing. Zo! How do you like it?”
I look at what used to be my living room…nothing is the same! Tante Rosi has changed out my furniture…all my knick-knacks…all my…everything!
She hugs me tightly and laughs with glee at her surprise. My blood pressure starts to climb.
“Now, I haf made a vonderful dinner…sauerbraten mit noodles. You relax und I vill put it on de table.” She hands me a glass of cold lemonade and pushes me down into the softest chair I’ve ever sat in. The smells from the kitchen make my mouth water and my stomach growl. I let my pounding head roll back against the fluffy chair.
Tomorrow, I will have to straighten Tante Rosi out about her role in my life, but tonight…well…I guess dinner can be “fun for der bode of uz”.
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