The following weekend, I was reading the newspaper, when I heard voices outside:
“Honey, the nurse just told me Grandma had a very rough night, and is resting now. I want us to be as quiet as possible, while I help getting her affairs in order. Perhaps you could walk around a bit, or wait in the car?”.
I stepped outside and introduced myself to the woman, and told her that both were welcome to use my place instead, if noise was a concern. The woman thanked me kindly, but said she could not impose on me like that. Then, we talked about her mother’s condition for a while. Finally, I told her that while my apartment does not have much to offer to entertain teenagers, I do have a large book collection, and some board games.
The woman turned to her daughter and said: “What do you think, honey? Would like to read a book instead?”.
It turned out the daughter was an avid reader, and she politely asked if it would not be a burden. I assured her that was not the case, and after her mother disappeared into the apartment next door, we went inside.
We chatted briefly, and the girl told me she had graduated from high school, and was looking forward to her freshman year in college this fall. Her grandmother’s illness had caught them by surprise, and she added with a wry smile that they had celebrated her birthday in their hotel room last evening, with cupcakes.
“Well, congratulations young lady!”, I said, “And would it be rude of me to ask how old you are now?”
“Eighteen”, she smiled.
“Eighteen!”, I exclaimed, “That is a very important milestone!”
I added that I was sorry she had not been able to celebrate this occasion, but that hopefully her grandmother’s condition would improve soon, and that she could perhaps have a do-over upon her return.
Then, I pointed to the bookshelf, asked if I could get her a drink, and returned to my newspaper.
After browsing my collection for a while, the girl returned with a collection of short stories, and started reading.
I finished the newspaper, and busied myself with a few chores. Then, noticing it was past Noon already, I asked if she would like a sandwich to eat, for lunch.
The girl politely accepted, put the book down, stretched, and asked if I needed help preparing it.
I told her instead to make herself comfortable at the table. Then, spotting my laptop, the girl asked if she could check her email.
“Absolutely!”, I said jovially, and stepped into the kitchen.
I prepared two Panini sandwiches, and was about to put them into the press, when I realized with dreadful certainty, that I had closed the lid on my laptop last night, with my profile page on xhamster still open.