I have seen this lady inside the coffee shop many times. I vowed that when I saw her outside, I would ask for a portrait. But I never saw her outside. So one day, as I entered, she was getting up from a seat by the door; she was heading for more coffee. I waited for her to return. I planned to meet her and ask her to step outside. When she came back, I made my ask with these words, “I have made a million of portraits right outside...”, and then she cut me off. With an indignant look and hands on her hips, she said “What? You've made a million portraits and never made one of ME?” Oh, this was going to be good.
I introduced myself by name and held my hand out. She shook it and gave her name as Five.
“That's your name?”
“Yeah. Don't you understand Five?”
“Uh, I guess.”
She turned to the woman behind the counter; “Laura, isn't Five my name?”
Laura shrugged and pointed, “She's Number Five.”
Five is the fifth of nine children. When she came home from school, her daddy would say, “Well, number five is still alive.” So she's Five.
Number Five went to the University of South Florida four years after me. She had an eclectic career, but spent a lot of it as a school teacher of grammar. She has no children of her own. As a young woman, she had uterine fibroids, a large problem in the African American community. This required a hysterectomy, but Number Five says that she was 'spayed'.