Here's another story from me. Nuff said.

I always saw her on the front porch every morning when I woke up for school. The old lady who lived across from me. I could see her yellow cat in one of the windows, catching a nap in the sunshine. She always waved to me when I made my way to the bus stop. And I would see her again whenever I came home.

I would always come see her when I finished my homework. I would help her with her gardening, feeding the cat, and sometimes we would just talk on the front porch. Cold glasses of lemonade would be available, and plates of cheese and crackers. She would always ask me how I was going in school and what I wanted to be when I grow up. Spending time with her was always a wonderful time. She was like a grandmother to me. Probably because I never knew my own grandmother. She died before I was born. But having Penny around was always a worthwhile endeavor.

As I grew up I always sought comfort in Penny's pretty garden and her fluffy cat, Tiger. I would always play with him, dragging a piece of string around and he would chase it and I would have a good time. Penny was always there for me. She would help me with homework. She told me about her first love and how, lovers, I would have them by the dozen. She told me about her childhood and her dreams. She always believed in my dream to be an artist. She was always so supportive. I would show her my drawings and she would tell me how much she loved them and ask what each one meant. Penny and I would just laugh and laugh and I would never want to go home.

She saw me off when I went to college. Her and my parents. I would always think of her when I was away. How I would yearn to see her every time the holidays rolled around. And every holiday I would always see her. Penny always said that I was like the granddaughter she never had. Her husband died before my parents and I moved to the neighborhood, and her own children were grown, having lives of their own. She always said that she would repay me somehow. For all the talks, all the hours helping out in her garden, all the glasses of lemonade and iced tea I drank. I always told her why she didn't need to, but she insisted. I never argued. It must've been hard for a woman of seventy-three.

Then when I came to visit my senior year something was wrong. I didn't see her on the porch, waiting for me to hear my new adventures. When I asked Mom and Dad about it, they didn't know how to answer. They told me that Penny contracted pneumonia and died. My heart split in two. Tears glistened my eyes. I couldn't believe it. Penny was gone. She was gone. I would no longer have anyone to tell my most cherished secrets to. I sat there crying. I couldn't believe she died. I didn't want to believe it.

I stayed home for a week. I couldn't go back to classes, but my professors told me to take all the time I needed. Mom and Dad helped me get through my grief. Then Mom and Dad showed me something. It was Penny's last will and testament. It said that she left all her earthly possessions to me and my parents. This was incredible. Penny always said that she would repay me, and this was it. This was unbelievable. I couldn't believe this was happening.

My parents and I went over to Penny's house. I went to the backyard, where she and I away spent our precious moments. I walked over to where Tiger was buried. He died when I graduated high school. Now his owner was with him in Heaven. Looking around the lush garden brought back wonderful memories of my best moments. She was always there for me. When my parents were too busy for me, she always swooped in to make it all better. She comforted me when my boyfriend broke up with me. She had done everything and anything for me. Because she loved me like her own. She was estranged from her own children. Luckily, they came to the funeral. They felt the sort of guilt you couldn't quench. They held no ill will towards me. It wasn't worth it.

Penny's children agreed to let me move into her house. It would be a start to moving into a place of my own. I would have quiet time to myself. I can have more work done. Living in her house would feel like having her around. It'll be like she's still there with me. I went I to her bedroom. It was the typical sort of bedroom I expected to see. Floral curtains. Lacy doilies. A big bed with soft sheets. She kept flowers in a vase on her nightstand. I sat on the bed and looked around. She had an amazing life, that Penny. She always made time for me, time for my troubles and worries. And I would make a tribute to her. I'll make something for her.

I decided on painting her house. I started right away. I needed to show off something extravagant when I graduated. The professors were moved by painting of Penny's—my house now. But they don't need to know. This was my opportunity in the moment. My time in the spotlight. My shining moment. A memorial for my friend Penny.