Brownstone Brides

by nicolecallihan

When I first saw this picture I thought, “Hmm…art,” but then I got to thinking about my own dress and how it hasn’t come in yet and how I really wish it would and how when it does I’ll be very, very careful with it, and I will only wear it in the house, and I won’t eat spaghetti when I’m in it, or salsa, or drink red Kool-Aid, and even if I do go out to the stoop to, say, check the mail I certainly won’t fall asleep, but then I scrolled down…

Ah, Brooklyn! My own neighborhood doesn’t get nearly as much excitement. This is Tess:
Tess lives down the street from me and, come summertime, she sits on her stoop all day long. It’s been fifty or so years (she can’t remember) since she’s been to Manhattan (two miles to our north). She tells me stories about her kidneys and her flowers, her parents and her grandchildren. My favorite story is the one about meeting Buck Jones in 1942. He was a sailor; she was dressed as Santa Claus; they fell in love! After many good weeks in an otherwise awful time, he begged her to move down to North Carolina and marry him, but she said no, afraid, she tells me, that he’d put her to work in the fields picking potatoes. Funny how life turns out, she says, and I nod, then she thumbs through the paper to see if her numbers hit, and I make my way down the sidewalk, glad it’s not raining or cold, glad to have someone to talk to.