Yesterday Evening: Too drained to climb the stairs up to my apartment, I am about to board the old-fashion elevator but in the moment I pause to glance at my cell phone the elevator floats upward with it’s accompanying ding. I sigh. A few moments later, after the elevator lands, a little girl with blonde hair and bright eyes bops out. She looks to be about 5 or 6 years old. A pretty woman, whom I imagine to be her mother, is walking behind her. I recognize them: we rode the elevator together a few weeks back. We exchange a neighborly greeting and begin to go our separate ways when the little girl swings around and calls to me: “What is your name?”

“Nicole,” I tell her. “What’s your?” Her mother and I smile at each other.

“Isabella,” she says softly, suddenly shy.

Isabella. That’s right,” I say. “I remember now.” And she perks up, a smile forming.

“Do you have a kid?” Isabella questions, brow furrowing as she tries to place me. Her mother winces at her personal inquiry and I laugh at her brash innocence, her sweet boldness, and her use of the word “kid.”

“No, but I have a kitty cat,” I offer. Isabella studies me for a moment, then requests my cat’s name and I tell her, “Jespa.”

“Jessica?” she asks, uncertainly. I repeat the name and spell it for her, pointing out that it’s an unusual name. She smiles grandly and announces that she will come visit me and the kitty cat. I tell her that sounds great. She asks if my cat is friendly and I explain that he can be a little shy with strangers but once he gets comfortable he usually comes out of his shell. I wonder if she understands “comes out of his shell,” but she seems pleased to hear this.

“Let’s make a play date!” she exclaims.

I am amused that I have been deemed a suitable playmate. But this does not completely surprise me since, as I have noted in past posts, I just may be aging backward–emotionally speaking that is. I am more in touch now with the child-like qualities of playfulness, creativity and spontaneity than I was when I was a child.

“Sure!” I say, trying to match her enthusiasm, and add which floor I live on. She reports that Fridays are good for her (her mom explains that they are only here on weekends) and I say that’s perfect.

As I get into the elevator, I hear: “Have a great day!” And she has, most certainly, made my day.