“Excuse me, would you please help me down?”
I looked to my left, a bit startled to be addressed by someone I hadn’t seen a moment ago. She was an old lady, her beautiful silver hair in a perfect bob, and she was wearing a sweeping black garment. Next to the sidewalk I stood on, the ground rose steeply up behind a white wall of three or four feet. The lady stood a few feet back from the wall, which contained the lawn of an obscure house several yards away. The wall glowed eerily in the light of a distant lamppost.
“Oh, certainly, yes ma’am.” I offered both my hands, and one of hers took one of mine; soft, thin, but not lacking strength. She squatted at the wall and then was over with more grace than I imagine I would have done myself. Now I could see she was holding in one hand a small plate with cupcakes, white frosted and carefully covered in saran wrap.
“Thank you, dear.” she gave my hand a little squeeze. “I always like to bring the neighbors a little something. It’s so much more fun to take the short cut, but I can’t manage it alone any more.” Her eyes were black like her dress and sparkled when she spoke. “Well, thank you again, and good bye.”
The small black and white figure stepped down the sidewalk the way I had come, and finally dissolved into the night.