Only it wasn't Avon Calling.
(she called yesterday after supper and picked up those boxes...)
Tonight it was Pauline.
She had been at her Auntie's, and could I phone a taxi for her?
She stepped into the living room.
I could smell alcohol.
Did she know the phone number? I asked.
She rattled one off.
I punched in the numbers and some guy answered.
Is this the Taxi? I asked.
He assured me that it was.
I gave him our address and he said he would send a taxi right away.
Then we chatted, Pauline and I.
I have money for a taxi, she said.
That's good, I answered.
At one point her nearly full "7-Up" bottle fell from under her coat, where she had been holding it, hidden from view.
I've been drinking, she confessed. You probably knew that.
Yeah, I said. I guessed.
I have money for a taxi, she said again.
We had a nice little chat.
She has 5 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 19. Her kids go the high school up the hill and the elementary school down the road.
She doesn't get out much, she said. She's usually at home.
This happens here quite often.
Can I borrow your phone to call a cab?
Can I use your phone to call my friend?
Once it was a girl who said she had stabbed someone. Did she want me to phone the police? Yes. She said. So we chatted and waited for the police. She didn't want anything to eat. She accepted a glass of cold water.
Our house must look friendly.
And the light wasn't even in the window tonight.