“Do you know what happened?” an elderly man asked me from the second floor of his house.
“Somebody was taken to the hospital, if you know Phillip.” Just as I finished, I realized how that sounded.
“What happened to him?” the neighbor yelled back.
I walked to get closer. “I’m sorry, it’s not Phillip. It’s somebody from his family.”
The man crossed his chest with both arms, as a person in a coffin. “Gosh! That woman again.”
“No,” he kept talking. “His mother passed away a while ago. It’s his mom’s sister who moved here from Nigeria. She was married with a Nigerian and came back to the States without him.” He looked both sides and leaned over the window to keep his voice low. “Who knows what happened to him?”
Wow, I didn’t know what to do with all that information. I was ready to say “Good Bye,” when the man continued. “That woman is strange. She …”
“Joseph, what are you talking about?” An elderly woman with a towel around her head showed up next to her husband unexpectedly. She smiled at me. “My husband loves to invent stories, don’t you my dear? You are missing your show on the Sport Channel.” They both disappeared in the house and probably didn’t hear me saying, “It was nice talking to you, Mr. Joseph.”
Right then Adam came on the alley.
“I’ll be late. Have a nice evening.” I was almost asking him where he was going, but wisely, I didn’t. He left a kiss on my cheek and went to his car parked somewhere on the street. That kiss felt precious. He never kissed me randomly, and his little gesture of affection reassured me that I was loved and accepted in his house. That meant a lot.
As I watched him leaving, I saw the gate to the house next door cracked. Pretending I was taking a walk, I stopped by that gate and mimicked I was strengthening my pants. I bent down to catch as much as possible of the yard. A black dog was looking at me from the stairs. Growling.