“What a beautiful bridge.” I commented, feeling like we were driving in the middle of a giant art sculpture. I realized how close we were to Batwoman’s studio apartment.
Addison, Texas is an odd place. It has seedy motels, homeless wanderers who bathe in the fountains, and skinny little white boys who seem to think by some stretch of the imagination that they are indeed, gangsters. But in the middle of the filth and poverty, is an area of artistic flair, youthful nightlife, and, oh, shall we say, sanitation. This area would be where Batwoman resides. And where me and my mom were headed Sunday night.
I should probably mention, her name isn’t really the female counterpart to the hero of Gotham City, her name is Olga.
We pulled up to the victorian-styled building and I wrestled with my purse at my feet for a moment, the darned strap was stuck to the bottom of the seat. Eventually I gave up and quickly unzipped it to whip out my make-up to touch up before grabbing my hat and jumping out of the car. The beautiful faded brick and white-iron railed balconies again captured the images from my daydreams. I love this street.
Mom’s iPhone suddenly dinged with a message from Olga, and I looked up to the balconies, expecting to see the familiar raven locks and light green eyes. But I saw no one. I looked expectantly to my mom while holding my hat down in conflict against a sudden breeze.
“She’s going to meet us at the entrance.” She was still staring at her phone. “Usually she just tosses the key down.”
I followed her as she walked down the sidewalk and made an abrupt right. I blinked rapidly for a moment as I realized there was a very narrow hallway in the wall that wasn’t even visible until one was directly upon it. I paused and looked around me. A busy street square to my left, more sidewalk to my right, and a beautiful fountain directly behind me across the street. I wanted to find a reason to savor the moment, but the quickening echo of my mom’s gold flip-flops snapping against her heels told me she wasn’t in a Kodak mood.
We came upon a large tan gate, I had never seen one before except in movies and felt a need to study it up close while I could. Suddenly rapid footsteps down a stairway inside the gate could be heard. I watched the visible landing for her shoes. Five seconds turned to ten, then fifteen before we saw Batwoman.
“Hey!” Mom said in greeting
“Hello there at last!” She exclaimed. ‘At last’ was my thought exactly, for two months now we had been trying to arrange a meeting.
She wore cork-wedge high-heeled shoes, dark green khakis, and an intricately rhinestone studded t-shirt.
I thanked her as she held open the gate. Even in heels she was about an inch shorter than me. After she closed the gate she greeted me again and hugged me in an awkward embrace. She was thinner than I had remembered.
Olga’s thick accent somewhat faded into the background as we worked our way up the steps- and I assure you, there were plenty of them. I looked around us with each landing, suddenly dissociating because of the new environment (a bit that’s part of my anxiety – dissociation is when you feel like you’re watching the world through a movie screen and not totally involved in the situation.) The walls were a light-grey, the door frames were painted gold. There were echoes everywhere from our footsteps and the conversation of my mother and our host.
Her apartment wasn’t as grandly decorated as I had anticipated. From what I had heard, Batwoman has a good deal of money and spends it on worthwhile items. The walls were a typical eggshell white. She had a decent-sized kitchen and large bathroom, the rest of the place being taken up in the largest room which contained a king bed, a 50-inch TV, two bookshelves and a desk and chair. I thought for a moment on what I could compliment her on, but doubted my own sincerity and remained silent.
“Well,” She said, leading us into her livingroom/bedroom/office/library, “Here we are. Please, have a seat, Hannah.” She motioned to a large, tan leather office chair behind me. I sat.
There was a moment of awkward silence as Batwoman contemplated her next move. She looked tired and slightly haggard. A large contrast to when I had last seen her on a chilly night in November. She suddenly walked into her kitchen, my mother following after a pause. I listened until heard the sound of glasses clinking a few seconds later. I stood and joined them in time to see Olga placing the business end of some odd little device into a pitcher of water. It looked like a beige colored remote with flat buttons and a wire that led to a metal tube, the little remote beeped several times and she dropped the tube into the pitcher. I looked over to my mom with a look of What is this wizardry? She inquired of the device and Olga attempted to explain through the language barrier (she speaks excellent english, but sometimes things get lost in translation). So, there we all stood around this pitcher emitting a muffled buzzing noise for several seconds. The little remote then beeped a cheerful little tune, to which Olga removed the metal tube and poured me and my mom glasses.
After I sat, Olga took the chair at her desk by me and, having nowhere else, my mom took a seat at the edge of the bed. A twinkle in her eye when we heard Olga insist I drink the water. Mom had warned me about the water and our host’s unorthodox means of filtering. I took a sip, fully prepared to fall into convulsions, a coma, followed by death. But, to my slight surprise, none occurred.
“So,” Olga said, leaning forward in her seat and watching me with her intense stare, “Why do you think you cannot fix yourself on your own?”
End Part One