The woman who lived in the tiny house squeezed between older houses turned to apartments came out in the morning and blew bubbles. She had various bubble wands and depending on the weather/ and I suppose her mood, she chose accordingly. She didn’t dance so much as move with her her bubblies, giggling and obviously deriving pleasure from the pursuit.
I stood at my kitchen window, munching a muffin and sipping strong coffee, deciding my day based on her play. It gave some life back into the dull routine of days. I’m a mathematician so I made all sorts of bubble computations and algorithms such the probability of a bubble sailing over the roof, or did her clothes affect the bubble production. I thought I might give then to her some day.
I felt like a voyeur – watching someone pleasure herself through thin curtain in my kitchen and the thin veneer of the public space. I wasn’t aroused, but amused in a pleasant way by her antics. When I saw bubble making supplies – yes, I strayed over to the children’s summer aisle – she would enjoy like a kit with 8 different wand configurations, I wanted to buy it for her. But I was afraid if she knew she had an audience she would stop. And we would both lose out.
Then, she didn’t come out bubbly-day every morning. I would gather jelly, muffin, coffee, cream and wait for her door to open. There was movement inside but no bubble swaying, whaling, and sashaying. Her bubbling became erratic; one frantic evening she ran around in the dark, bubble juice sloshing. She had pulled together whatever was clean, I suppose, as she wore a dress over pants, and short sweater topper. Her hair had musingly been pulled into a ponytail/bun that sat like a strange animal of the top of her head. Her shoes and socks didn’t match and she let out a keening wail of pain and sorrow like I’d never heard before. She fell to the ground, shrieking and rocking, then just rocking.
I didn’t know what to do – go down and see if she was okay – she definitely wasn’t okay—call 911? As I was searching my conscious, she got up and with a drag in her step walked back to her house. I didn’t see her for weeks. Not in her yard, not on the street, café or neighbourhood. I asked Mrs. Krasty – she who knew — all where all I knew was Bubble woman was. “Police and ambulance came for Teona. Tried it again. (Mrs. Krasty crossed herself.) “One more and they mite just keep her. Best fer all.”
Tracking her to the mental health facility took some work, but I found her. At the nurses’ station I left a brown envelope with some of my equations. a note and my cell #. A few days later, a husky, druggy sounding voice asked if I was Richard the bubble mathematician . I thought she might just blow me off. Rather, she said” Visiting days are Wednesdays, and I put your name on the list.”