“Let’s go on a walk, Fred,” Barbara said. “It’s still light out and I want to mail a letter.”
“You want me to get my shoes and coat on to walk with you to the end of the driveway?” Fred asked.
“No, I need to weigh the letter. I added a couple of things to the envelope, and I’m not sure how much it weighs,” Barbara said. “So I wanted to walk up the street to the post office. We could stop at the bakery next door. That would make it a date.”
“All right,” Fred said. “I did promise you a date every week. Let’s go.”
They put on their jackets and Barbara grabbed her purse. They walked up the quiet street, talking about their day. At the post office, the letter did need an extra stamp. Barbara paid the extra money and sent the letter off.
At the bakery, Barbara looked longingly at the éclairs. “Would you want to split one?” she asked. “They’re rather big. And maybe a little expensive.”
“Hmmmm? Oh, I don’t want anything,” Fred said. “I’m not really hungry. I’ll get you what ever you want though. It’s a date, right?”
“Fine,” Barbara said. She went up to the counter and ordered an éclair.
“For here or to go?” the baker asked.
Barbara turned to Fred. “It’s up to you,” he said.
“If you’re not getting anything, I may as well take it home. It would be weird to sit and eat here if you’re not eating too,” Barbara said. The baker packaged the éclair in a big white box.
Fred paid for the éclair and handed the box to Barbara. She thanked him and they walked home down the quiet street, talking about their plans for the weekend.
The next day, they went for a morning walk. Their neighbor was out pulling weeds. Barbara and Fred said hello. “Hey, what did you get at the bakery yesterday?” the neighbor asked. “I saw you out walking and recognized the box.”
“Fred took me out on a date,” Barbara said. “I got an éclair.”
“That’s nice,” the neighbor said.
Later, they went to the grocery store. “Hey, I saw you out walking yesterday,” the clerk said as he rang up their groceries. “What was in the big box?”
“Fred and I went to the bakery, and I got an éclair,” Barbara said.
The next day at church, the lady in the pew in front of them turned to say hello before the service. “I saw you walking the other day. Where were you going?” she asked.
“Fred and I went to the bakery on a date,” Barbara said. “I got an éclair.”
“Oh, I love that bakery,” the woman said. “I go there all the time.”
“It is very nice,” Barbara said.
After the service, two more people came over to ask about their walk on Friday. Barbara told them about the walk and the bakery and the éclair. Then they started to walk home.
“Don’t you think it’s a little strange?” Barbara asked.
“What’s strange?” Fred asked.
“I didn’t see any one when we were out walking, but so many people saw us,” Barbara said.
“Now that you mention it, it is a little strange,” Fred said. “I don’t remember many cars passing us, and some of the people who saw us don’t even live in our neighborhood.”
“Maybe they were all visiting people in our neighborhood and just happened to look out the window when we walked by,” Barbara said. “Though I think it sounds a little unlikely.”
“Perhaps they were hiding in the bushes to see who passed by,” Fred said.
“Well, if they are all training as ninjas, they just broke their cover,” Barbara said.
“Maybe they’ll ask us to join them,” Fred said.
Barbara laughed. “I think I’m too old to learn to be a ninja.”
“Maybe they’ve just decided we’re harmless and don’t care if we know,” Fred said.
“I suppose that would be nice,” Barbara said. “It’s nice to know we have so many people watching to make sure the neighborhood is safe.”
“That’s true,” Fred said. He turned and looked at some bushes.
“Did you see something?” Barbara asked, looking at the bushes.
Fred shrugged. “I thought the bushes were moving, but I guess not. Let’s get home.” They turned and walked away. The bushes rustled again.