Where does the time go? It had been a while since I had knocked on the big wooden door with the bronze knocker. I guess like everyone else, I just got busy. I have had Mrs. Clark and her contagious smile on my mind. Her perfectly manicured lawn and the huge rectangular pool with all of the laughter coming from her side of the fence has been silenced for some time When I think about it I should have noticed sooner the overgrowth and the rust beginning to develop on the gate.
I have lived here since I was a child. My memories of this place come in waves of sunny summer days and cold winter nights, of dancing in the rain and shuffling in the snow of sleepovers with friends and a few friends of the opposite sex I would just as soon forget. Aw the high school years were grueling. After I finished college my parents retired and went to Florida to live in a sleek, modern high rise condo on a bright sandy beach and left me here to follow the career choice of being a hotshot architect who takes old dilapidated warehouses and restores them to beautiful useable office space it's just my thing to see the beauty of something old and unused, but it is one reason I stay busy.
It seems like yesterday, but I guess I have been married for two years. The wedding was great, so many of our family and friends were there, and the planning was so time-consuming. Then we got involved in remodeling the house, and then the baby came. I need to find out about my old neighbor
On Saturday, my day off, after my husband is off to play tennis and I find a sitter for the baby, I knock on the door. My knees get kinda shakey just waiting and thinking about why I have waited so long to come by this house and see Mrs. Clark. How long has it been? I am left waiting on the step for what seems like forever. When the door finally opens I am met by a face I had never seen before. His hair was long and he looks sort of unkept and in need of a shower. I told him who I was and I asked him where was Mrs. Clark? He looked at me as if I had lost my mind.
Then he said, "My mother has been dead for ten years". Talk about a blank stare? Where have I been? I apologize and we sit down to reminisce about her for a while. It was what happened kind of dialogue.
He began to explain: The house needed repairs, but he and his partner had no choice but to live there like it is because he spent all of his savings to pay his mother's medical bills. They moved here and got new jobs as landscapers. That's what they have done where they lived before.
His mother had become ill while I was in college. I had never heard she had a son, he had been sent to live with her brother in a different state, he was raised there. I assume my mother had told me in a phone call but I don't remember. He had been living in this different state with his partner who his mother did not approve of. He longed to be with her and help her, but she wanted no part of his lifestyle and so they became estranged, and a visiting nurse stayed with her.
About ten years ago she died. In the end, his mother Mrs. Clark did speak to him on the phone and they did reconcile, but the son had many regrets. He had been banished from home as a young teenager before I moved to the neighborhood. It was often easier to send them away. At the time his mother got sick he had found love and happiness just like we all look for. Maybe in the end it seemed he had been gone too long.