The guesthouse was small but cozy. It was very simple with a bathroom and a small kitchenette off of a large room in which a double bed, nightstand and dresser stood. Most of the walls had floor-to-ceiling windows which gave the place a very outdoorsy feeling, something I wasn’t sure I would like if I was still there in the dead of winter.
Adele’s home was just the opposite. It was what most people would describe as dark but warm. It was far from modern. Much of the place had dark wooden walls and furniture as well as hardwood floors with a scattering of dark rugs with abstract designs. It had more than enough space for one person but definitely couldn’t be described as bright and sunny. I could see where it might actually be a bit depressing in the winter.
It was also very cluttered with lots of plants and decorative items. I definitely had my work cut out for me when dusting the place.
Adele and I hit it off really well and got along great. I was actually quite surprised because Adele never seemed all that friendly before. She was far from rude, of course, but was never really outgoing online. Yet she really seemed to enjoy my company in the evenings and often invited me to dinner. We would cook together, and I would insist on cleaning up since she was the one that bought the food we ate. We rarely ran out of things to chat about but sometimes we simply enjoyed silently being in each other’s presence.
We watched movies together, we went places together, and I also met some of her friends and family.
After a while, I finally got up the nerve to mention Frieda, doubting it would make her uncomfortable at that point.
“So how is Frieda doing?” I asked one day when we were lounging on her back patio between her house and the guesthouse.
“She’s doing okay but sometimes I think she gets a bit lonely and depressed.”
A part of me wanted to say that if she were less judgmental and critical of others, she may not be alone but I held my tongue.
“She still come to visit you at times?”
Adele nodded. “She came last summer and I recently visited her. We go back and forth every other summer.”
Damn! I thought. No chance of meeting each other since I would probably be gone to who knew where by next summer.
After Adele had a bit of a coughing fit I asked, “You two met down in Turkey, didn’t you?”
She nodded again. “That we did.”
And then she really surprised me.
“How do you feel about taking a trip down there with me?”
My eyes widened, surprised by the offer. “Wow, really? I’d love to go and add another country to my list of those I’ve visited, but as you know, I have just enough money to live on and not much more.”
“Don’t worry about it, hun. You do so much for me around here. Much more than I’m paying you for, actually.”
I laughed. “Doesn’t seem that way.”
“Oh, yes, now that I’m single again and my kids and grandkids aren’t close by, your company really helps keep me from falling into a dark state of mind.”
“Well, I’m glad to know I could help since you’re helping me tremendously.”
Adele really was full of surprises. Not only did I think she would invite me to stay with her and be so friendly, but it was a bit hard to believe that a woman as elegant and kind as she was, getting older or not, would be alone. Frieda, I could see. Frieda was a bitch. Adele was not.
“What did you have in mind? Like a week on the beach down there or something?”
“Well, it’s August now and once the weather turns unpleasant here, many German folks traditionally holiday down there for a week or two. I do it every year. That is when I’m not skiing in Austria. Getting a little sick of the ski trips and would definitely prefer the beach, so yes, a week of sea and sun in Turkey. Antalya, to be exact.”
“Well, sure! If you wouldn’t mind the company I would love to tag along. A week alone here would suck. I can certainly contribute to some of the expenses, too.”
Adele waved her hand and said, “Just worry about souvenirs and extras and things like that. We actually have a small yacht we’re going to book for a week so most of it will be on the ocean.”
Adele nodded. “Me, Frieda, and a few friends of ours.”
My heart rate sped up. Oh my God, was she serious? I was really going to meet the beautiful but judgy Frieda after all?!
Adele saw the look on my face and seemed to read my mind. “I’ve got to be honest with you, hun, before you go getting all excited. Frieda hasn’t changed much.”
I chuckled, trying to keep the mood light. “Yeah, by the time most of us are older, I think we’re pretty set in our ways. I realize she’s not always very forgiving but then neither am I. I guess it really depends on the person and the situation. But you can rest assured, and tell her this too, that I’m not expecting anything. If we can just get along, that’s fine because I certainly don’t want to fight over old and petty stuff that’s way in the past.”
“I’ll let her know. I’ve told her many times how wonderful it is having you here and what a good person you are, but she still seems hesitant on softening up.”
“That’s okay. I don’t need her approval,” I said with a smile.
“Then you’re up for a week at sea?”
“Definitely! Would we go out sailing much or would we be docked?”
“Both, but we would obviously have to dock when on land shopping and dining and doing things like that. It’s basically going to be about fun, relaxation, eating, swimming and just soaking up the warmth and the sun before having to return to the inevitable cold and snow.”
I smiled, now having something else to look very forward to.