When Kim was diagnosed with cancer, some things changed.
A lot of things changed.
I had to make a decision to move from the very nice house with a pool we were renting after a foreclosure to something that took less of our greatly reduced salary. Suddenly less income meant frugal living, smaller spaces (I opted for an apartment, both for less upkeep and a feeling of temporary. I really wanted to go into this cancer gig with the sense that it was temporary. Yes, our lives would be different and our perspective would certainly shift, but the feeling that this living arrangement was short term somehow made me comfortable in the journey).
So, I moved us to a bottom floor apartment. Lots of buildings, plenty of people filling parking spaces. People who come and go from their jobs in uniforms and work trucks, carrying lunch bags and coolers. People who walk their dogs to the small patches of green turf. People who deposit their household refuse into common dumpsters without a hello. I quickly realized throwing out your trash is perhaps shameful. It’s not time for conversation.
in the 2 years we lived there, we knew 3 by name. Donna across the walk works at Safeway. I don’t know her husband’s name. I do know he doesn’t like dogs. He told me that day 1. Hanna lives in the next building, she drives a bronze Camry and speaks with a beautiful German accent. She’s kind, sells a face product and was always willing to stand and share a nice conversation if we happened to be coming and going at the same time.
We came to know the guy upstairs, to the left. He bowls on Wednesday evening. In fact, he leaves at precisely 6:30 pm. We knew because he let his ball bag bounce down every step. All 14 steps. The sound was startling at first. It became funny later. I won’t ever forget it. (He bounced his ball back up stairs on his return at 9:30, btw.) His lady was very kind, she always had a very warm and nuturing “good morning” for Addie getting on the bus. I think she is likely 15 years older than me. I often thought I wouldn’t mind having her presence when I am the same age. She seemed free without being aloof, a polished hippie.
It’s such a good feeling to see someone across the parking lot that is really happy to spot you, too. Doesn’t matter where you were going, you divert your path and come together, carrying your bags. A warm hello and best wishes for the day. I will miss that interaction. It wasn’t until we were moving away again that I realized what those meetings in the parking lot meant. True friendship has to be built, sometimes, it’s a bit magical. Sharing path with others is an experience that offers more than a feel good for the few minutes. It leaves with you and becomes you. We are all better community members this way.
While it was only 2 years, I think I did see Noah’s nose turn a little grayer. He certainly was struggling to walk while wagging his back end. Noah’s guy, tells me today that Friday Noah left earth. I’m sad for him. I’m also very grateful for those times we could say hello, dog to me and me to dog and his guy.