Flora opened her door and there stood Mrs. Savellini frowning in the frozen morning. “It’s your responsibility to shovel the sidewalk, Flora," she said. It almost made me, an old woman, fall and crack my hip. And look, the snow ruined my red slippers.”
Flora stared back at the thin, bent widow who clutched a yelping miniature poodle to her heart. “He's cute in his tiny sweater,” said Flora. “Does he like it when it snows?” She reached to pet the dog, but he snarled and showed his teeth.
“Where is your apology, Flora? Don’t they teach young people manners anymore?” Mrs. Savellini rolled her eyes and then focused her attention on the whining poodle. His red sweater matched Mrs. Savellini’s wool pea coat. “So un-neighborly, Flora. And, I’ll remind you, your rent is discounted, but I may change my mind on the matter.”
“I do apologize. You see,” Flora stammered, but the dog began to bark and it overpowered her excuse.
A window opened from the bakery nestled between Flora’s apartment and Mrs. Savellini’s own building. “Ah, Evette!” a plump man in a checkered apron called out.
Mrs. Savellini’s stone-cold expression changed when she heard her name. “Gilbert,” she nodded, and straightened herself an inch taller.
“Chocolate croissants?” he asked. “I just baked a pan for you. And for the puppy, how about a chocolate biscuit?”
“Oh,” interrupted Flora, “dogs don’t eat chocolate. You don’t feed him chocolate, do you Mrs. Savellini?”
Evette Savellini pursed her lips and shook her head, “This dog has a name, Flora. Now, the sidewalk, or do you prefer to have an argument?” She walked into the bakery with her wet slippers and didn’t look back.
“Flora,” Gilbert called down. “Delightful morning, isn’t it?” His hands, gnarled and old and laced in pastry flour, rested on the windowsill.
“Gilbert, it’s cloudy and frigid, and I hate winter. How can you say it’s delightful?”
“Ah, sweet Flora. Life is too lovely to miss the chance for a smile.”
“Gilbert, that’s easy for you to say. You’re surrounded by cupcakes all day,” Flora said with a laugh.
“Look up, Flora. Today is the day the Lord has made.”
“Yes, you like to repeat that one, Gilbert,” she smiled, and added “So I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Writing Prompt: Write a dialogue between neighbors. Let their conversation show things about who they are.
Artwork by S. Friesen