I had been working in the CSA garden with Beth, pulling weeds in a light rain. I was happy to be working outside and getting my hands dirty because I had spent the majority of the previous day inside. I had told DD that I wasn’t sure if I would be meeting her to help out at one of the houses before lunch or if I would spend some time with Beth. She said she was okay with me not making up my mind, but that she would come get me wherever I was. I didn’t quite know what that meant because I didn’t have my cellphone on me and I was pretty sure she didn’t have my number. So there I was, working away, having the occasional short conversation with Beth, and I hear “Honey! Hey honey!” off in the distance. After all our time spent together, I think DD still doesn’t know my name, but I’m alright with being called honey. Here she comes, bounding in my direction, looking frantically at her watch. “Honey, it’s time to go. I came to get you. I came to pick you up.” I responded by saying something like “Oh! Hi DD! Good to see you! How did you know I was here?” “I asked your friends. All your friends. And I used one of their cellphones to call you but you didn’t answer. I wanted to tell you that I was coming to get you to bring you to my house. I have to babysit for a little bit before lunch. Do you want to come?” So I washed off my hands and said goodbye to Beth and off we went, through the woods.
I felt I hadn’t gotten to know DD as much as I was expected to or as much as I wanted to, so I tried asking her some questions about herself. After a few short answers it became clear that she either didn’t feel comfortable answering or was simply uninterested. She also apparently didn’t want to ask me anything about myself, so I let her lead the conversation. For about 15 minutes we walked, brushing upon topics related to the day and to tomorrow. Almost everything she wanted to talk about had something to do with scheduling. She wanted to know when everything was going to happen, who all would be there, when we were leaving, when we were coming back, and where she had to be for each event. I did my best to give her the information she wanted, but I didn’t always have an answer to give.
After a while I realized that she didn’t need to know the details of my personal life or even what I do at Bryn Mawr to know me, which made me realize that I didn’t need to know about her past either. We were content to share a moment in the woods just chatting about nothing important. I think she noticed when I got more comfortable with that idea, because she seemed to relax a little bit. After that walk she kept calling me her little sister. In the weavery she would tell her friends, “My little sister is coming to lunch at my house” and “I made a necklace for my little sister and I’m making one for her teacher. They match.”
When it was time to go, DD didn’t say goodbye to me. We had had a conversation after we presented our drawings, but I thought I was going to have a real goodbye with her. When we were carrying things out to the vans, I looked around for her, but it was clear she had other places to be. I’m really looking forward to seeing her tomorrow. This time I won’t let her get away without a goodbye hug.