Just a little confused, that's all.
With silent distinction Anna crossed the intersection in front of a multitude of cars, her dress billowing in the wind and her wispy white hair streaming. Tires squealed and horns blew, but she seemed not to hear them. Anna had two goals. She must get far away from that old folks' home, and then she had to find Buddy.
"Hey, Lady, are you crazy or something?" Anna turned to see who was insulting her. A young cop in a patrol car pulled up beside her, opened his door, and jumped out to stop traffic.
Anna thought she might cry. Didn't he know she was just trying to find Buddy? They wouldn't let her bring Buddy to the place with her. It wasn't fair that she had to give up her home and her best friend just because she was old and a little forgetful.
The cop was gently ushering her toward his patrol car and getting her out of the way of oncoming traffic. Something clicked in Anna's brain, and she got control of herself.
"Lady, where do you live? What's your name? Do you know your address?" The young cop was raising his voice again.
"Shut up! How can I think with you asking me all those questions at once?" Anna shouted back, momentarily losing control again. Ordinarily, she was very much in charge of her emotions, but lately that had not been the case.
"You just scared the you-know-what out of me. I'm just trying to help you," the cop replied more calmly.
Anna drew in a deep breath, straightened her back and legs, and rose up to her full five feet. She wrinkled her brow and brought forth her most commanding demeanor before she replied. "I live at 922 East 23rd Street. I just got a little confused, that's all. I'm perfectly all right now. I would appreciate it very much if you would take me home. It's very close by. I was just taking a walk and got a little dizzy." A serene and stately glow came over her face, and somehow, she no longer looked helpless and disheveled. She allowed the cop to help her get settled into the squad car's seat.
Anna knew the policeman would be glad to get rid of her if she could come up with the right story. He looked new to Anna and relatively inexperienced, especially with older women like her. He slipped behind the wheel, and soon they were turning east on Twenty-Third Street.
Anna couldn't believe how easy it had been. On the way she chattered about the weather, asked about the Officer's family, and other mundane things just to prove that she was in control. Pulling up to the curb in front of her house, the now friendly Officer Gaines came around and opened her door.
"Here we are. I'll see you inside."
They walked up a sweet-smelling, flowered pathway to the front door. Anna turned the knob, but the door was locked.
"Oh, silly me," Anna said and tipped up the potted geranium beside the door to uncover the key. She put it into the lock and turned. The door swung open.
"I'll be fine now. Thanks for the ride home, Officer Gaines," Anna said in a commanding but appreciative tone. She didn't want to overdo it.
The cop hesitated just for a moment. Anna gave him the best school teacher look she could conjure up.
"All right, but no more walking out in front of traffic," the Officer ordered, trying to save some of his self-respect.
"I promise, Officer. I just got a little dizzy and confused back there. You'll be having one of those 'senior moments' yourself soon."
Anna watched as he walked back to his patrol car. Then he was gone.
Now, all she had to do was find Buddy.
(Please read "Anna, Part 2" if you'd like to learn more......)