I was in my pajamas, hair all frizzy, warming up chicken tenders when I heard a jiggle at the doorknob.
“Ma?” No response, except for the jiggling of our upstairs neighbor’s doorknob. Oh, shit, we’re getting robbed!
I tiptoed my way to the door and looked out the peephole. What I saw made me sigh with sadness. It was an old neighbor of mine, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and who instead of going back home after buying a six-pack, ends up at our house, where he lived for over twenty years. I watched through the peephole as he slowly made his way down the stairs. What to do?!
I called my mother.
“Do you have his wife’s telephone number? What do I do? Do I let him go?”
“Ay, que pesar,” she lamented into the phone. How sad. I hung up, and looked down at my kitty cat pajamas and bare feet. I could smell the tenders coming to a nice crisp. Maaaan. I threw my frizzball hairstyle into a bun, put on some skinnies and a hoodie, turned off the microwave oven, and met my dear old neighbor downstairs.
I told him who I was, reminded him that he no longer lived here, and began the walk towards his apartment. We talked about beer, the neighborhood, his wife, this and that, and slowly he started to come back to reality.
“How’d I end up all the way over here?” he asked.
“It’s okay, I get lost all the time. We all do,” I assured him.
I apologized for not having a car, “I’m having money troubles. Haven’t been able to find a job yet.”
“No se preocupe, ya se lo consigue.” Don’t you worry, you’ll find one soon.
We walked another half block when he asked me, “Do you like your job?”
For a split second I became annoyed. I just told you… And as quickly as the exasperation came, it left me, for in that moment he reminded me of someone who was very special to me, my grandmother. She would ask me a milliontrillion times if I wanted a Kit Kat and I would roll my eyes and say “Noooo, Mamita!”
I didn’t understand why she would ask me the same questions so many times. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have accepted that Kit Kat with patience and a smile every time. A milliontrillion times.
I looked at my old neighbor and with a shrug said, “No he podido encontrar trabajo, lo puede creer?” I haven’t been able to find a job, can you believe it? He shook his head in disbelief.
Outside his home, we shook hands and bid each other farewell.
“Que Dios la cuide,” he wished me. May God protect you.
“Same to you,” I said. I watched as he walked towards his apartment, beers in hand, my existence long gone from his memory.