Back when I was a poor college student I worked for a brief stint as a waitress at a greasy spoon breakfast place. On the same block was an historical hotel that had been reinvented as Section 8 housing for mostly mentally unfit seniors. The residents frequented the diner, but there was one woman who I really took a liking to.
This may or may not be the aforementioned greasy spoon. (Spoiler alert: it is. )
Prospina was probably in her eighties (at least), about 4'9" and weighed about 80 pounds soaking wet. She wore a red, polyester pant-suit and her steel-colored hair in a greasy, chin-length bob. As far as I could tell she spoke no English but that didn't matter because she never spoke to anyone (anyone we could see, anyway). She would, however, hold long and, sometimes, animated conversations in Italian with invisible dining companions.
Every morning it was the same: Prospina would materialize at the counter at about 8:00 am and gesture to the coffee cups. She would then sit down with her cup of coffee at the corner table or, if that was occupied, the counter, and hold court with her phantom associate/s. After an hour or so of heated conversation she'd shuffle off for a lap around the block. Then, invariably, she'd reappear for her free refill in another hour's time. This pattern would be repeated until after lunch when we'd close and she'd shuffle back to the hotel. The only variation was that, every once in a while, and for no discernible reason, she'd give you the most beautiful, absolutely radiant, toothless smile (Prospina was forever forgetting to put her teeth in and would often leave them unattended on the table during her strolls).
In a strange way, Will has that same smile. And I will miss it; his adorable, toothless Prospina grin. It's funny, the associations we make and the things we get attached to.
Oh well, on to better things!
We had celebratory pancakes for breakfast.