Casey knocked on the door. She took a step back wondering who was going to be on the other side. She casually looked over her shoulder wondering if her friends were even still standing on the sidewalk.
She sighed, turning her attention back to the door. Once their baseball had been chucked over the fence by accident, no one wanted to knock on Mrs. Peters’ door to ask for it back. Casey didn’t understand why her friends didn’t want to talk to the old lady, but apparently she wasn’t a very nice person in the past.
Casey wanted to prove them wrong. Or, at least prove to them that she was the only brave one in the group.
They had all said that they would be waiting for her on the sidewalk. They were going to have her back in case anything bad happened. They wanted to witness everything. But of course, as soon as Casey knocked on the door, they had all run away.
Casey stared at the brown painted door. There was a nice “Home, Sweet, Home” sign on the sign. Underneath her feet was a mat that said “Welcome.” Casey didn’t understand why this old lady was do mean. It certainly didn’t seem that way.
Her friends had mentioned that Mrs. Peters liked to yell a lot. A few of their balls had made it over the fence before and every time they’ve asked to get it back, she’s yelled at them. After a few times, they gave up on trying to get their balls back.
Still, Casey looked to her right and noticed a lovely flower garden side the small porch. She didn’t know anything about gardening or flowers, but it sure looked nice and well kept. There were red flowers, yellow flowers, a few purple flowers, and even blue flowers. Casey smiled wondering if she would be able to get away with picking some to give to her mother.
She looked at the front door again. How long was she supposed to wait here? Should she knock again? Mrs. Peters was old. What is she was taking a nap? If Mrs. Peters was as mean as her friends said she was, Casey certainly didn’t want to see what would happen if Mrs. Peters was awoken from a nap.
Casey turned around again. She tried to see if she could see her friends anywhere and ask them what she should do, but they weren’t anywhere in sight. She grunted. Of course they weren’t. They were most likely back in their backyard playing with a different baseball. Casey was sure that they weren’t going to care whether she came back or not.
She faced the door again and looked up at it. There was a small window at the top, but Casey was too short to peek through it to see if Mrs. Peters was there. She would believe that Mrs. Peters was waiting quietly on the other side in an attempt to ignore the kids, hoping they’d go away on their own.
So, she knocked again. One more time couldn’t hurt.
Casey gasped after she knocked the second time. She could hear something from the other side of the door. Uh, oh. Maybe she really did wake Mrs. Peters up and she was on her way to go get a weapon of sorts!
Casey took a step back on the porch. She wanted to run, but there was no way she was going to back out now. She had told her friends that she would get their baseball back and she was going to do it. What could an old lady possibly do?
It was at that moment that Casey heard a voice. She looked all around her, believing that her friends had actually come back for her, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around.
Then she heard someone speak again. It sounded as though it was coming from inside the house.
Casey took a few steps forward toward the door again. Cautiously, she put her ear against the finished wood.
“I said, come in! The door’s open!”
Casey recoiled backward a little at the harsh words. That must have been Mrs. Peters shouting. She swallowed a dry lump in her throat and put a shaking hand on the doorknob. Slowly, she twisted it open and poked her head in.
There, just a few feet away from the front door in what seemed to be the living room, sat an old woman in a wooden rocking chair.
“Come in, come in.” she sighed. “My voice isn’t as strong as it used to be.”
Casey swallowed another lump. Her voice seemed just fine when she was shouting through the door a moment ago.
She entered, closing the door behind her lightly. Of course, she wasn’t too sure if that was a good idea as she didn’t want to lock herself in the house. She wanted to have an easy escape route just in case.
“Oh,” Mrs. Peters sounded surprised upon looking at Casey. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you before.”
“Um…” Casey stammered, “My name is Casey… I’m uh, friends with May and Tanya… Your next door neighbors…”
“Oh, the twins? They’re so cute. Are they here as well?” Mrs. Peters asked politely.
Casey felt her shoulders relax. Mrs. Peters didn’t seem like a mean woman at all. “No,” she shook her head.
“Oh, that’s a shame.” Mrs. Peters sighed. “I don’t get too many visitors anymore. In fact, that’s partially why I keep the front door unlocked. When someone does come, it’s easier to just shout at them. It gets harder each and every day to get up and moving out of this chair.” She chuckled to herself. “Oh, but listen to me go on and on… Why don’t you sit down, dear?”
Casey didn’t know what else to do but sit. So, she sat down on the couch across from Mrs. Peters’ chair. She looked around the room. It was dimly lit with antiques upon antiques all around the room. There was no TV, which Casey thought was odd. How could you not have a TV, especially when you lived alone and had no one to talk to?
“Is there something you needed?” Mrs. Peters asked.
“Oh, um…” Casey coughed as her voice squeaked. “Our baseball fell into your backyard. I was wondering if I could just go and get it.”
Mrs. Peters laughed. Casey shrunk down in her seat. Maybe this was what her friends meant. Maybe Mrs. Peters was stealing their balls and not giving them back.
“Of course!” Mrs. Peters exclaimed.
Casey felt herself relax again. Mrs. Peters wasn’t so bad.
“Honey, you don’t need to ask permission. If something of yours goes over the fence, feel free to just go into my yard and take it. You know,” Mrs. Peters continued, “I have a pretty large backyard. Bigger than May and Tanya’s, I believe. It’s fenced in and my garden is out front, so if you kids ever need extra room, go play in my yard.” She let out a sigh. “I remember watching my own children and their friends, then my grandchildren, play out in the yard. I missing watching them have fun, hearing the laughter… It’s what kept me young. Now…” she laughed again. “Well, look at me!”
Casey found herself smiling. She had no idea what her friends were talking about. Mrs. Peters was clearly too old and just wanted a little company. She stood up from the couch and held up her index finger. “Could you excuse me for a minute?”
“Of course, dear,”
Casey ran over to the back slider door. She immediately found the baseball in the large grassy area. She ran over to it, picked it up, and tossed it over the fence. She heard May and Tanya cheer as it flew over. She rolled her eyes. They definitely did ditch her and sure enough, they were playing something else while waiting for her.
Well, they were going to be waiting for a long time.
Casey made it back inside the house. She closed the door and sat back down on the couch.
“Mrs. Peters,” she said.
“Would you like some company?”
Mrs. Peters stared at Casey for a moment. Then she smiled wide. “You know, I don’t see my family too often. They live pretty far away. However, I recently found out I’m going to be a great-grandmother.”
Mrs. Peters reached down next to her chair. Beside her was a basket filled with yarn and knitting needles. “I made a blanket for each of my grandchildren. I would like to carry on that tradition, but I could use some help.”
Casey frowned. “But Mrs. Peters, I don’t know how to knit… I wouldn’t want to ruin the blanket.”
“Nonsense,” Mrs. Peters handed Casey some yarn and her own pair of knitting needles. “You’ll learn. And, maybe someday, you can make blankets for your own grandchildren.”
Casey took the yarn in her hands and watched as Mrs. Peters began her own blanket. She smiled and tried to copy what she was doing.