There I was… on the phone with one of my best friends when out of nowhere it sounded like Chunk wailing out about his Baby Ruth from the Goonies. The sound echoed throughout the courtyard of my complex and was not to be ignored. My nosy nature had to be satisfied, so I immediately let my friend go and approached the door way as a sniper for their prey. Immediately I was taken back by my neighbor out on his stoop crying hysterically for what was an obvious loss. Now, I have never met this neighbor but know him from watching him smoke his daily cigarette. Furthermore, I have been known to watch his mother tend to her garden. It hit me like a ton of bricks, the eye candy of the neighborhood was dead. The one that everyone watches was gone. It was as if, your favorite picture on the mantle was taken down and thrown into the fire.
Later, after the paramedics arrived and the son was pacing around the courtyard with his friend did I decide to go and give my condolences. I was a tad nervous, having never said a word but merely watched through the security of my bay window. I mimicked his actions and sat on my stoop, awaiting the right time to approach. The moment felt surreal, but I decided to engage in the formality of condolences after meditating on her garden. I thought back on certain things that I had noticed about this family, one, there was no father or siblings present, ever. I looked at the neighbor and built up the courage to extend my hand of friendship during his time of need.
I walked over like a child in their first day of recess on the playground and just said the simple words, “I am sorry for your loss… sucks”. He nodded and replied, “Yeah, I’m sure that you know”. We exchanged words for a few moments, none of it was awkward. He told his friend that everyone watches everyone in the neighborhood due to the lack of anything happening in the area. I let him know how much I appreciated her garden and how she made me look bad. For the first time since this horrid situation occurred, he smiled and laughed, knowing full well what I meant. Inside, I knew that this was the reason I was meant to come out during this crisis in this gent’s life. As I left, I let him know where I lived (as a joke, I was across from his door) and if he needed anything to come on over.
Never in my life have I been in the vicinity to someone when they have found a loved one has passed on. It is heart wrenching and will snap anyone into a self-reflection of their own mortality within seconds. I plan on saying prayers for him in this time of need (I found out he is the last in his family) and will keep my eyes open for when he needs a friend again.