Neighbor

You never know what’s going on in someone’s house. In someone’s head.

Police cars descended on our block like locusts. Nine, ten, eleven.

Our living room lit up like a disco. Blue, red, blue, red, blue.

The last time I saw him, he was helping his ailing partner use a walker. We exchanged pleasantries as they navigated the slow unsteady steps on the sidewalk. Nine, ten, eleven.

The time before that he was walking alone, and I was in my driveway. He stopped to talk to me about politics. Blue red blue red blue.

I can’t remember the last time his mother-in-law pushed her shopping cart down the street. The pandemic forced our aging neighbors behind closed doors, into isolation for too many months. Nine ten eleven.

Now, through the crack in the blinds we see him being handcuffed. His shaky husband, being led to an ambulance. Blue red blue red blue.

His mother-in-law, nowhere in sight. I walk over to the window, hoping to see her emerge from the house, time and again. Nine ten eleven.

Only now, do I notice that their rainbow flag has been taken down, and their rose bushes, torn up. When was it that the color left their lives? Blue red blue red blue.

We send texts. Make phone calls. Wait to hear some news as the hours pass. Nine ten eleven.

Questions swim through our minds as the light dances on our walls. Blue red blue red blue.

You never know what’s going on in someone’s house. In someone’s head.

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