I Am Your Neighbor

I am your neighbor. I am the one who left 250 tangerines in a box in the clubhouse last season because I had an abundance of fruit, and that’s what you do when you have an abundance of anything. Give it away.

I am your neighbor. I never complain when your gardener blows dust and debris into my yard the day after my gardener made my yard look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. And now it doesn’t. But you are older than me and you have medical problems and you are doing the best you can. And I respect my elders.

I am your neighbor. I am the one who tells you you’re welcome to park in my driveway when all the visitor parking next door is filled with the vehicles of folks playing tennis or going to the dog park or who live down the street and there is no where left for you, a visitor, to park. And you’re elderly and it’s hard for you to walk the distance from the next visitor parking area to where you want to be.

I am your neighbor. I don’t complain when your tennis balls fly over the fence into my yard and you shriek and carry on because the sounds I hear are sounds of joy and it’s no big thing to toss tennis balls back over the fence.

I am your neighbor. When my daughter was hit by a car last year and I had to be away for weeks at a time to care for her and you stole the fruit off my trees while I was gone, I just sighed and went back to the clubhouse when I returned with 120 pink grapefruits. Because you must need this food more than me.

I am your neighbor. I live alone. Not by choice, you see, but because my beloved husband is stranded in a country in a neighborhood where they kill five a day while I jump through the endless hoops created by the current administration to prevent innocent persons such as my husband from immigrating to our country. My husband, 71 years old, who lived in this country for 14 years with a legal permanent resident card. A card that expired while I was doing voluntary medical service in a developing country and the folks in the U.S. State Department sent our re-application form to an address in the forest where mail is not delivered instead of to the P.O. Box I clearly and largely wrote on their form. It has been three years of this hell. Hoping that somebody will recognize their error and welcome my husband back to this country like they did the first time 23 years ago. Praying that he will live long enough to return to our home.

I am your neighbor. Before you pass judgment on me, threaten me, and force me to take down my RESIST sign, perhaps you should know who I am. I am your neighbor.