Being a Good Neighbor

Having locked myself out of my apartment today, I’m forced to go to Myrna to let me in.

Myrna lives on the first floor. She seems to do most of the yard work around here. I seem to avoid her, and I’ve noticed whenever her name crosses my lips it’s in some sort of a passing joke. Living alone for so long has made her into something of a social misfit. Often she closes her eyes completely when she talks, giving the impression she’s mentally somewhere else.

When she unlocks the door, she brings my mail to me as usual. It’s just one piece of junk mail from Charter, about the low monthly rate of their cable package. “There’s only two things I watch,” she says. She follows with a non-sequitur about how if she had married and had children, cable might be worth the money.

After I’m back in my apartment I think about what an emotional wound she must have, never having the chance to get married. Dying rejected and alone. Was the whole purpose of your life just to die, Myrna?

I start to feel guilty and sorry for her, like I should talk to her more. Help relieve her burden and heal her wound. I mean, in the bible it says pure and undefiled religion is “to visit orphans and widows in their distress.” I think about putting this verse on my refrigerator.

Then I think about how in day-to-day life the reverse of this actually happens. How this isn’t the first time she’s helped me when I’ve been locked out. How, despite being 87 years old, she brought in my empty trash can and recycling container last Wednesday before I got home. I’m struck by how this wounded one cares for me.

3 Responses to “Being a Good Neighbor”

  1. Mark Mark Says:

    "Those who make them
    will become like them"

    Who knew his word
    could be so true?

    I become desperate,
    helpless, inanimate.

  2. John the Statistician John the Statistician Says:

    Dang, just as I'm reading about "the body without organs" in Deleuze, too…

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