Once, maybe twice a week I see her watching me fill up my car. From the second story of her apartment building she sits in her brass-backed chair and watches everyone as they pump gas. I always look for her and I try to make eye contact with the woman. I never wave because I’m never sure she’s actually looking right at me. Although, it always feels as if this very old woman is ignoring everyone else while I’m there. She sees me scrub the bugs off my windshield. She watches as I try to convince the pump to dispense precisely 12 gallons of gas into my tank. She knows when I’m bad and duck inside the store for a doughnut and a chocolate milk.
On the mornings when she’s not in the window I worry about her. On Mondays, I think she has died and it makes me terribly sad. On Wednesdays I think she’s sick and too weak to sit up on her own. If it’s Friday or the weekend I think she’s sleeping in because she’s too old and too tired to bother watching. Regardless of the day, I never like it when I see the shiny brass back of her chair. I want her up there, in the window, prepared to call the cops if I get mugged or an ambulance if I spill gasoline on my pants and catch fire. I want her up there so I know she’s okay.
She wasn’t there this morning.
It’s Monday, so I’m pretty sure she’s dead.
UPDATE: Two people have asked if I've seen the old woman lately. Yes. The last time I filled-up she was sitting in the window and it appeared as if she had pen and paper. It might have been a crossword or maybe it was something more like, Dear Diary - The pudgy guy is getting gas again across the street. He is staring at me again. . .