I couldn't help but overhear the bits of conversation that drifted my way. In-between the thunking of football pads and the cheerleaders' frantic yelling, I caught the basics. They had recently moved to Brewster. He was an insurance rep and on the road much of the time. Brewster was in the middle of his territory; that's why they'd moved here.
Looking back, I know Anne was overwhelmed trying to make a good impression on practically everyone in town that night. And she was doing a good job of it. I could already see Jan and Connie, the only two sort of good friends I had, following Anne down the sideline, chatting up a storm.
Anne bugged me before I even met her.
For instance, the way she said, "Hiiii—yiiii!" to everyone she met irritated me.
She'd whip off her too-cute purple mitten and stick out her hand. Everyone else scrambled to get their hands out of their pockets, or from under their arms, then yanked off their own gloves just to shake her perky little hand, with its long, slender fingers. It wasn’t until much later that I noticed Anne's crooked thumbs.
Then there was her hair. A jumble of auburn, corkscrew curls sticking out every which way from her purple stocking cap—with a tassel on top, no less. It was just too cute.
But the thing that bothered me the most was when Dan said to her, "I'd like you to meet Olivia Marsden, Brewster's resident bard." He was referring to my column for the Brewster Banner.
"Hiiii-yiii!" Anne said, whipping off her glove one more time. "Olivia—now there's a name I'll remember. I had a cat named Olivia. My sister and I called her Libby. We loved her soooo much. Glad to meet you Libby."
Well, meow to you too. No one, and I mean no one, called me Libby.
Oh, and did I mention how, for reasons unknown to modern science, Anne took to me like cold macaroni and cheese to a kitchen counter top? That woman would not leave my side for love or rudeness. She stuck to me like glue through the whole game no matter how many people came by to say, "Hiiii-yiii!"
I knew the minute I met Libby she was someone I would like. It never occurred to me that night that we would become the friends we did. But right from the start I knew there was going to be a bond between us.
She was so cool. She didn't grab my hand and pump it like everyone else, all the while inviting me to coffee, lunch, dinner, PTA meetings, or making any of that insincere, first-meeting, I-just-know-we're-going-to-be-best-friends, kind of chit chat. Not Libby. She just stood there in her black wool coat, her breath forming measured puffs in the night air, and gave me a slight nod, a one-sided smile, and said, "Welcome to town." Then she turned to watch the game.