In my little corner of Washington, D.C. people come and go. You may pass each other on the streets with a nod but more often you don’t even make eye contact.
Having lived in my building for a year, I did recognize some of my neighbors. Sometimes we’d smile and say “Hi,” but usually nothing more.
I was feeling isolated as a writer working from home. One lonely day I exclaimed to my husband: “I need a friend nearby.” My husband suggested I befriend the guy who lives in the basement apartment and looks like a serial killer. I’d named his dog Cujo. I’d been calling the guy Cellar Dweller in my head and had created a gory narrative. Like, he lures people into his basement lair on the premise that he’s a famous photographer. Now I cleared my head and explained to my husband that I needed a girlfriend, I didn’t want to be murdered.
I had noticed that one of my neighbors dressed with a certain flair. She seemed quirky and being quirky myself, I was intrigued.
One day soon after I passed on Cellar Dweller, I was out walking my terrier, Jack. Just as he was stretching on his hind legs to get his nose closer to a bigger dog’s butt, I saw my quirky neighbor walking towards me. She was cracking up at the dog scene. I started laughing, too, and I began a conversation. I couldn’t believe how much we have in common! She is a writer! She loves Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups! She spends too much at Starbucks! Twinning!
Fast forward six months later. I now lovingly call my neighbor my friend. She is exactly what I was searching for in my little neighborhood. We’ve named each other Lucy and Ethel. We laugh, we talk, we share. We drink coffee and write. We watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Best of all, she lives right below me. And has all along.
We are a Jewish girl from New England and a Catholic schoolgirl from the South. Our backgrounds couldn’t be more different; how did we turn out so similar? We laugh like we have known one another our whole lives. It is uncanny. It is beshert. She had to teach me the word.
My friend was away for the holidays. I missed her. I baked Christmas cookies like the Pillsbury Dough Boy on crack. I couldn’t get rid of them.
I saw Cellar Dweller out walking Cujo and decided in the spirit of the holidays to gift him and Cujo some.
He turned out to be a lovely old curmudgeon, not a serial killer. I now call him my friend. This, too, feels beshert.
Kat Akcakanat is a Washington, DC writer, whose blog www.outofkatshead.wordpress.com chronicles the cornucopia of characters in our nation’s capital. A former art and drama teacher, she is currently on the Keto diet and suffering miserably. Married to her beshert, Bora, they have four children.