My boyfriend’s mother, T, lived in one of three dreamy, 1892 eggshell-white Carpenter Italianate houses on Savannah, Georgia’s Rainbow Row. Their shutters were painted powder blue, pink, and seafoam green, respectively, their tiny porches wrapped in Lady Banks rose vines, the tabby sidewalks before them glistening with fragments of oyster shells.
In a routine that defined 2017, T spent a bright, warm May morning at a chemotherapy treatment at the Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion, then came home to recuperate on the couch next to her living room windows. Outside, a woman was bouncing around on the sidewalk in front of the colorful trio of homes. Laughing and shouting art direction to her photographer across the street, she was an arm’s length from T’s seafoam green shutters and thin window glass. When we came by for dinner that evening, T told us about the photoshoot, the commotion, and how, eventually, she’d pulled herself up and peered out the front door to give this girl and her friend “a look,” which seemed to scare them off. The three of us giggled over it.
A couple weeks later, a family friend sent us an Instagram post. Travel blogger Michelle Halpern—a 30-something “matcha-obsessed Libra” with nearly 60,000 Instagram followers at the time—was caught mid-skip just outside T’s living room on Rainbow Row, mugging to the camera. The caption on her May 15, 2017, post read: