Lately, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself. Mainly because Covid has kept me from seeing my sons, daughter-in-law and six-year old grandson for over a year. I was feeling a little bit blue, thinking of them, when I heard Ron, my partner, yelling, “Emergency, Linda! Get out here in the hall and bring a large robe or blanket!”Oh, no! I thought, as I ran for a robe or a blanket, Something bad has happened to Dorothy! It didn’t occur to me that Dorothy is not much bigger than I am, why would Ron ask for a “large” robe?
Dorothy is our artist-friend whose condo is adjacent to ours and she’s also become our “Saturday Night at the Covid Movies” partner. (She comes over and Ron projects a film onto his big white portrait backdrop, almost the size of a movie screen.) Dorothy is around ten years older than I am, and she’s said she hasn’t been as steady on her feet lately. I got my bathrobe and ran into the hallway, only to see a young woman, her body very large, somewhere between her twenties and thirties, in her underpants and bra, standing in our condo’s hallway. I guess Ron was coming out to check our mail at the same time as Dorothy was. That was when he called me to get a blanket or large robe.
Dorothy, perfectly fine, was standing in the doorway of her condo and talking to this woman. And I began talking to her too. She looked unfamiliar and wasn’t a tenant here, so I asked her, “What’s your name?”
She answered, “Holly.”
Then Dorothy asked, “What’s your last name?”
Holly said, “I don’t remember.” She seemed confused, but not menacing or angry.
Ron ran inside, presumably to get help of some kind, as Holly continued to talk to Dorothy and me.
“Where do you live, Holly?” I asked her.
“I don’t know,” she said.
Then, she started to tell a long rambling tale about the Tom Cruise movie, “Minority Report,” the gist of it being that she possibly had the power to foretell future events….Then she talked about how nothing is real and she was thinking this place (our hallway) was her bedroom….
And Dorothy, who has difficulty standing for such a long time, got a folding chair from inside her place and pulled it to her doorway to sit as she listened, along with me.
I asked Holly if she was cold and where were her clothes? Dorothy explained that she opened her door to go out and check her mailbox and was surprised to see a naked Holly meditating in our hallway. Apparently, Dorothy supplied her or she found her stretchy bra and underpants, because she wasn’t naked when I saw her.
While Holly was talking to Dorothy and me, I could hear Ron on the other side of our hallway, where a glass partition in the hall separated him from where Holly and Dorothy and I were. I imagine Ron contacted help and then came out to where he could see Holly to describe her or answer any questions for whomever he was talking to. I heard him, concerned about her comfort level, asking for a woman officer and specifying that this stranger was a large women, probably because the medics might need a larger than average stretcher to take her to the hospital.
In a short time, two EMT’s and a policewoman, all wearing masks, as Dorothy and Ron and I were (I brought out extra masks when I brought the robe) came to check out the situation.
Holly told the medics, “Could you come back in five minutes? I was talking to Dorothy and Linda.”
Ten minutes later, the two EMT’s and the policewoman, came back in and Holly told them, “I don’t want to go with you.”
One of the EMT’s, a soft-spoken black man, said, “You are trespassing on privately-owned property and you have two choices. One is to be taken to headquarters by the police. The other is to come with us and be checked out at the hospital.”
Holly said, “I’ll go to the hospital.”
And with that, Dorothy and I cleared the way, so the paramedics could have room to take Holly.
Holly’s appearance reminded me of how fortunate I am. I had already had Covid but never needed to go to the hospital. I have a warm, cozy place to live and enough to eat. I am still working, albeit on Zoom or FaceTime, seeing as many clients a week as I can handle. I’m working on getting my bookready for publication, and I live with a kind, loving partner.
After the EMT’s left, Ron looked at our security cameras and saw that Holly entered after a workman failed to properly shut the door—easy to do in winter, when the door latch doesn’t always catch.
Later that night, as we do most Saturday nights, Ron, Dorothy, our dog Sally and I watched “News of the World” together. The film itself, with Tom Hanks and his little girl companion trying to find “home,” was very much a gratitude reminder.
After the film, Ron and Dorothy and I all wondered aloud about what became of Holly. In another time, we might have checked, but now, due to HIPAA rulings, any attempt to check to see if Holly was all right would be thwarted.
Even if I miss my kids, Holly’s presence made me grateful for all I am blessed with. And for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude.