I was standing in my very first apartment. It was giant and empty. My voice echoed as I squealed in delight. I was finally out on my own, I was finally going to be a normal person and live a normal life. I had high hopes for my time in Boston! I had high hopes for my future!
Mama was dying to come visit already and every time I heard the doorbell ring, I knew that it was a delivery man with something else that she had sent for my apartment. She sent vases, blankets, dishes, lamps, books, bath mats, paintings, framed poetry from my childhood, and tons of other things. She was excited for me, but thought obviously that I lived in a mansion instead of a one bedroom loft in Brighton Center. Every time I had everything arranged exactly like I wanted it, she sent another item to add to the mix.
It didn’t take me long to find a coffee shop that I adored. I spent most of my waking hours and ate most of my meals at Athan‘s Bakery--people watching, coffee sipping, scone eating, and time killing. I didn’t start my job for several more weeks and since I didn’t have any friends, I had plenty of time to explore the city which was a good thing considering the service at Athan’s was slow-- but worth the wait.
I had become familiar with the “T” which was how I got from point A to point B-- with a thousand stops in between. One afternoon, I went down to Newbury St. to window shop. Mama, Penny, and Anna would have been in heaven amidst the endless supply of expensive shops and restaurants. I, on the other hand, was like a fish out of water. I liked the fact that I didn’t fit in, it was the first tangible evidence that I had to prove that I was out on my own and was not the “rich” girl anymore.
A few weeks after I had moved in, I was sitting on the couch in my pajamas. The doorbell rang and I slid out from underneath the new kittens that were curled up on my newspaper sleeping. I sighed, wondering what in the world Mama had sent now. “Addy!” It was Anna. She hugged my neck and set her bag inside the door.
“Anna? This is quite a surprise.” I was annoyed, seemed like she would have warned me that she was coming. I would have cleaned up and rearranged things. I wanted it to look perfect because I knew that she would judge.
“I wanted it to stay a surprise!” She closed the door behind her and shimmied out of the her thick winter coat.
“What are you doing in Boston?” I didn’t try to hide my feelings.
“I’m on my way to New York City. I’m spending the weekend in with a friend, we’re going to see a Broadway play and everything!” Her eyes were full of wonder. Being a Southern girl, she had never made it up to the big cities of the North. This was probably part of the reason that I had migrated to Boston and why Anna was giddy over a trip to NYC.
“A friend?” I sat down on the coach and turned the volume down. I was missing final jeopardy.
“Yes a friend.” she smiled. “Okay, a boyfriend. I think he’s the one!”
“I figured Joe was the one.”
“Joe is most definitely not the one! I cut things off a fews ago for good.” She sat down beside me, uninvited.
“I don’t have an extra bed.” I knew better than to expect Anna to sleep on the couch.
“Won’t be the first time we’ve shared!” Anna seemed very excited about spending time with me, and I felt a little guilty for dreading it.
The next day was like torture to me. We headed out, Anna was dying for me to show her around, but everything I suggested was met by a weird look, a suggestion of something better to do, and a snide comment. “I eat at Athan’s everyday.” I wanted her to know that I had a routine that she was disrupting.
“High time you try something else!” She looked like a fool in her expensive shoes and faux fur coat. So much for blending in. Anna pulled out her iPhone and managed to find a restaurant fancy enough to suit her tastes for brunch, and she led us directly to Devlin’s Bistro and Bar. I couldn’t believe that she had only been here a few hours and was already leading me around.
“So who is this boyfriend?” I wondered how poor Joe, who had been hanging on her every word since they were preteens, would feel about it finally being over for good.
“He’s a doctor. He’s in the middle of a nasty divorce, and needed to get away for awhile.” Her eyes filled with stars as she sipped her water with lime. The thought of her breaking up a perfectly happy married, which I was sure she had done, disgusted me. “How amazing is it that getting away includes a trip to NYC?”
“Pretty amazing.” I rolled my eyes and longed for a quiet afternoon alone.
“Why can’t you just be happy for me? For once in your life!” Anna narrowed her eyes at me. She ran her hand through her long mahogany hair, and that alone was enough for me to lose it. I felt like she was rubbing in the fact that she looked like Mama and I wanted to cry. Maybe I was just looking for a reason to lose it, but either way I lost it.
“Enjoy your brunch.” And at that I stood up and left. She could pay for the food after it came. I couldn’t take one more milisecond of Anna Banks!
I pulled my coat on, wrapped the turquoise scarf around my neck, and headed out into the cold. Before I knew it was sitting on a bench in Boyden Park. Even with the chill in the air, little kids were running around and smiling. I thought back to my childhood and longed for a time before my bitterness toward Father and Anna had consumed me. There was a time when I loved Father and only hated Anna when she stole my Barbie or pinched me. Those were, in many ways, better days.
I didn’t see Anna again in Boston. By the time I got home, she had convinced the super to let her in and had erased all evidence of her visit. I was glad. I would be starting my job in a few weeks, and was ready to settle back into my routine before taking the giant leap into the working world. With Anna gone, I could go back to blending in.