Glimpses from a neighbor.

April 11, 2012

Row Houses

I drive down the streets of our neighborhood on my one-hour lunch break, looking forward to resting at home as a break in my day. As I pull near our house, an older lady inches towards our driveway with her walker in tow. Inch by inch. I wait, not wanting to rush her nor wanting to zip in front of her to make the cut. I wait.

She makes it past our driveway and I pull into my side of the paved slab. As I reach for my purse, I notice she is standing on the sidewalk looking in my direction. "What now?" I think. I fumble around in my car thinking if I take long enough, she will be on her way. She remains standing in the same spot.

I get out of my car not wanting to be bothered, trying not to make eye contact. I nod in her direction as I step around my car towards the front door.

"Thank you," she says.

Startled, I reply meekly, "You're welcome." I had simply waited for her as she made her way across our driveway and she made sure to stop, wait, and thank me for the gesture. A heavy weight hits the bottom of my stomach.

"It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" she continues.

"Yes, it is. I wish I could be out here enjoying it like you," I say truthfully as I step towards the door.

She turns around and goes on her way. I stand there for a minute, convicted and surprised at just how quickly I had become annoyed. There has been nothing special about the day, but maybe that is just it. Maybe I am just trying to get through the day. I step into my house enjoying my moment of rest more than I had hoped, grateful I had a moment of rest to begin with. I think of my neighbor.

I tell my husband the story, and we continue to see her pass by our house in the early evenings. "Look," he points. "There's your friend."

"Is it her?" I say as I make my way towards the window. It's her and she is always beaming. She is always enjoying the everyday moment every day.

We get into the car on a Saturday as we make our way to run errands. I pull my car out of the driveway and we see my friend, my neighbor. "Is that my friend?" I ask Chris, and he looks into the sun.

"I think so," he squints.

As she nears, she smiles, her mouth wide open, waves, and points in my direction. "Yes, that's her," I say. I am beaming, too.

"For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don't want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn't the one I've been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next one, when we are convinced our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from that mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves and the faint odor of last night's meandering skunk."
{The Life of a Day, Tom Hennan}

I am also writing over on Casey's blog today about our tried and true friendship.

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  1. It is so easy, isn't it, to get annoyed when something disrupts our day. I am guilty of this so often. How much better to be like your neighbor beaming with smiles all the time!

  2. I can totally see where you're coming from. I live next door to an older lady who happens to be a widow, who's husband passed away over the summer... While I didn't break the ice by trying to avoid her it was no less awkward... Me: "Oh hi! How is your husband doing?" Neighbor: "Oh, he's dead." (I swear I couldn't make that up if I tried).... Just like that the little old lady next door melted my heart. Say hi to your neighbor for me, we never know what they're dealing with. Great post!

  3. Great post. I'm constantly ashamed of myself for becoming quickly angered or annoyed at something so trivial. Glad you refer to her as a friend now. :)


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