The moment I finished talking, I knew it wasn’t right.
“Ah, this is weird. I’m sorry.”
Phillip didn’t say a word but stood there smoking.
“It is not my business or place to ask you such thing.”
The man took a couple of steps and showed me one of the buildings down the street.
“See that house?”
I nodded my head. That was Joseph’s house, the elderly man at the window I had talked to when Phillip’s aunt was taken to the hospital.
“The owner bought that house in the ’90s with $45,000. Now it’s $2,000,000.” My neighbor turned to see my reaction. I was stunned.
He continued. “My grandfather gave my mom the house we lived in. A few years ago, my aunt bought the house I live in now and asked me to take care of it while she was in Africa. A while ago, she put my name on the house deed.”
I felt pretty embarrassed. “You don’t need to tell me all of these. I’m sorry I asked to see your mother’s house. It was so out of line.”
“C’mon, Sophie. It’s all right.” He finished his cigarette and dropped the cigarette butt on the ground. Then he stepped on it.
“Just for you to know, I sold mom’s house. The new owner had a crew for about a month to do some changes inside. But the guy never showed up after that. Did they ever change the locks? No. Do I want to go and see the improvements? Yes.” He looked at me and laughed. “Let’s go!”
I wasn’t so eager anymore to see the interior of that building since it involved trespassing. Phillip read my thoughts. “It’s not a problem. The owner asked me to keep an eye on the house. Are you coming?”