: A Meeting in the Garden :

an excerpt by Patricia Foster

He appeared out of nowhere, tall, slender, ebony dark and dressed in an orange t-shirt and pressed jeans. She’d been watering the caladiums and impatiens, new bursts of color to brighten the side yard, the garden hose firm in her right hand, when she sensed rather than heard a presence behind her. She turned. And there he was: a figure of surprise beneath the flowering pear tree. It was 6:30 a.m. and she was still wearing her pajamas, light cotton and faded, with a pomegranate design bursting in color at the knees.

Good morning,” he said, nodding as if they were old acquaintances.

She simply stared, the hose dripping near her feet.

He seemed not the least bit embarrassed by her silence. “Do you, by chance, know of any apartments to rent nearby?” His voice was soft and melodious, but he didn’t smile. Nor did he come closer. His hand nearly touched the lowest branch of the pear tree.