Moving into a new neighborhood takes some adjusting to as I should well know, since this is my second adjustment in as many years. When we first arrived I lamented, in my newly realized fuddy duddy way, that the neighborhood kids were running wild in my back yard and touching my stuff!. My good friend G. commented that good fences make good neighbors, but I felt I had insulted them enough by moving in and removing their playground, suddenly putting up a fence did not feel like the neighborly thing to do.
The houses in the new neighborhood are larger and the yards are larger. There are very few back yard fences and lots of open garage doors and people sitting in the shade of their suburban caves watching the coming and goings of street.
My door gets knocked on a lot. The usual sullen kids from out of town selling magazine subscriptions, the ATT guy trying to woo me away from Insight, the tree service people trying to get me to let them take down my damaged tree, the insurance sales person who wanted to cut up my fallen tree, the Girl Scouts, the UPS guy, Joe who has locked himself out and then once the Mayor assuring me that they were going to stop everyone from running the stop sign in front of my house (yea right!!).
The best was yet to come last week when I heard that familiar Tap Tap Tapping on the front door (no one uses the door bell...can't figure that out) and I throw it open to find a blond haired large eyeglass adorned kid wearing shorts and a dirty white t-shirt, to match his scraped up legs, balanced on his bicycle (for a quick get-a-way?) kind of looking like the kid from Jerry MaGuire, only 10 years old. He blinked at me several times as I opened the glass storm door and smiled at him in what I hoped was a non-threatening manner (after my encounter with the next door kids and the resulting cold shoulder I received from their mother, I am very cautious).
"Hey, you wanna buy a candle?" he asked.
"A candle?" I repeated. Like I said, he was sitting on a bike, had no mother standing on the sidewalk guarding him from danger, no selection book with the usual ungodly marked up crap for you to choose from. No, I was only offered a candle.
"Yea, we have....." and he bit his lip trying to remember the selection and smiled when it came to him, ".....Hawaiian Tropical Breeze."
"What about vanilla?"
"No, just Hawaiian Tropical Breeze."
"Can I write you a check?"
"No, just seven dollars."
"Well, come back tomorrow then, okay."
"Is this for your school? Do you live around here?"
"Yea, down there", he waved his arm to the east,and then he began to ride off my porch waving over his shoulder, "see ya tomorrow".
"What's your name", I cried after him, like some left behind sweetheart.
"Joseph T. XXXXXXXXXXXX". And he turned his bike and was tearing off down the road.
My lord, he was cute.
I remember the next day only after I got home and rushed to my purse to see if I had any money for him. Saints be praised, seven dollars exactly.
A half hour later I heard a knock at the door and there he was, perched on his bike, craning his head to peer into the front room to watch my advance.
I opened the door and handed him the money, which he took, licked one finger and began to count, one...two...three...four...five...six...seven, and nodded at me in confirmation of a sealed deal.
"Don't I have to sign something, like my address."
"Nope, I'll remember." He pocketed the money and pushed off on his bike. I felt like I had just been scammed by a the cutest little grifter I have ever seen.
"What's your name?" he called to me from the street. "Mary" I shouted back at him, he turned his bike towards the East and gave me a wave, but no backward glance.
I think I am in love.