So, we’ve been here about two months now. We’ve waved at a few neighbors, but other than the owners of the house across the street who don’t actually live here- they were rehabbing the house to rent- no one has spoken to us. And we haven’t had the time, energy, or initiative to reach out to others.
Well, two unfortunate dimensions of pregnancy changed all that this past Wednesday. I realized two things on my bus ride home on Wednesday. 1) I really needed to pee. 2) I had forgotten to pack my keys in my bag. I don’t usually bring keys with me because Kev is almost always home (or has been) when I get here, but he had children’s choir right about the time I was scheduled to get home. I called him as I walked from the bus stop to our house and, indeed, he was already at church. And wouldn’t be home for 45 minutes or so. My bladder was not going to last that long. We still haven’t hidden a key anywhere.
I decided to swallow my pride and ask the neighbors who wave if I could use their toilet. The kids in this family had started talking to us a bit across the fence in the days just prior and when I got home this particular day they were at the fence and eager to chat. I first was talking to the middle child whom I believed to be named Aleta at first and was hearing about how she had made a book in her first grade class that day. “What was your book about?” I inquired. “Feece.” “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you say it again?” “Feece!” she said even more insistently. “Feet?” “No, Feece!” She tried and I tried and we couldn’t reach an understanding. Enter, just in the knick of time, her older sister who confidently declared “I’m Destiny. That’s Alisa. People make fun of her because she doesn’t talk right.” “That’s too bad,” I said, “Actually, maybe you can help us, she was just trying to tell me what the book she made today was all about and I was having trouble understanding.” “Her book was about fish. I’m the only one in the world who can understand her.” Alisa smiled seemingly appreciatively. “It’s a good thing you have each other.” Then the little brother came over and we became briefly acquainted. Eventually I asked “I’m locked out of my house and I really need to use a bathroom. My husband won’t be home for awhile. Do you think I could use the bathroom in your house?” Destiny said she’d ask her grandma. Grandma said I’d just have to wait for mama to get out. So I waited and chatted with the kids and then introduced myself to the adults in the household and then… ah…. relief. I was most grateful for their hospitality. They were happy to meet me. Surprised to learn how pregnant I was (I still don’t really look THAT pregnant).
The house is super small, and very run down, and A LOT of people live in it. It’s hard to imagine.
After becoming better acquainted I settled in on the chair on our front porch to work on reading for the next morning. I had only read a page or so when a young man came walking towards me from across the street. He, Brandon I think, is one of the new renters in the house across the way. They had just moved in the weekend prior, he and his brother, all the way from Colorado. He’d been keeping an eye out because he wanted to meet us; his landlady said he should. He told me if we ever need anything to let him know. I think I embarrassed him when I said I wish I had known him a bit earlier because I needed a restroom-badly. He chuckled and said “You can use our toilet any time.”
Who would have thought forgetfulness and a frequent need to pee would finally open up neighborly relations?