We live in an apartment complex that only has three apartments, side by side. We are the ones in the middle. We all share a front patio that leads out to the front gate, and each has its own back patio. To the one side lives a bachelor that we hardly ever see, but to the side live a couple in their mid-50’s (I ‘m guessing, but have never asked!) with their working daughter. They have a son who lives nearby with his wife and three kids.
La senora checks on me, brings me different things, and anytime I step next door, I end up leaving with something in my stomach. They also make wonderful tamales, mole, Jell-O, and many other things to sell….and I’m a willing buyer!
El senor, I do not know as well, but he is a kind man. A couple od days ago, I looked out and he was cleaning the patio, including our part. I made a mental note to thank him the next time I was over at their house.
The grandkids are there a lot two, and always pound on my door to let me know when they arrive. This past week their spring break started, and that night the kids were out playing with their ball in the front patio. Most of the time when they come, my front door is left open, and they come and go as they please. The other night after exploring our apartment, we decided to color, followed by [part] of a movie. Their grandmother told me that the next morning they would have mole, if I was interested.
The next morning the kids pounded on the door early. I remembered that it was their vacation. Most of the time, the come, knock, and run away. Apparently this is very entertaining to a four and five year old. I was busy, so I did not answer the door. After a while I left to go to my suegra’s house. As I left the door, I noticed that their was a van in the front patio and a couple men that I had seen at the neighbor’s before, but do not personally know. The little girl came running to me, “Kaaaaaaaaaaat!” and jumped in my arms. We talked. She asked when we would finish watching the movie, I promised when I returned. It was agreed, and I left the front gate. I saw her brothers in the street, coming back from one of the little stores nearby. He said hey, they moved on and so did I. When I came back, no one was there, as is normal during the day. We all come and go.
I started some chores, when someone rang the doorbell. I went to answer at the front gate. It was the daughter of our landlord. We chatted about a couple of business things, and then she said, “And of course you know what happened last night.”
Me: “What happened last night?!”
Her: “Your neighbor, el senor, had a heart attach. Se murio.”
Me: “He died?!”
Her: “Si. Late last night. They took him to the hospital and he died there. They left today to bury him their hometown. Y’all did not hear anything?”
And then I really did not hear that much more….
He died. Just like that. The man who had been cleaning my patio the day before. Gone. Into eternity.