As I stood in front of my house, one of our neighbors walked down the street and passed me without speaking. Although we have had pleasant conversations in past months, she seemed not to recognize me.
“Hello, Marie!” I call to her.
She turned back, “Oh! Hello!”
“How have you been? We haven’t seen you and your daughter Frieda for a while.”
We first met them when Frieda was about 2 ½. Marie and her daughter would walk by and Frieda often detoured to climb front our stairs. Our cat Buster always sat looking out the window near the top of them and she looked for him, when she remembered, and squealed with delight when he was there.
“Frieda is doing pretty well, although she has a new sister. An older sister. So it’s a big change.”
“Wow! Congratulations on the addition to your family!”
“We adopted her from Korea. She’s experienced a lot of trauma, especially related to dogs. There were wild dogs running in the streets and she’s horribly afraid of them.
I told Marie about the boxer I’d adopted from a shelter and told her Betty was afraid of a lot of things, especially hoses. We parted ways at the end of the block and over the next few weeks as I walked Betty around the neighborhood; I noticed the changes in the front yard of the little cottage—2 hoola hoops, 2 scooters, 2 of everything.
Lately we’ve had a heat wave and all our windows have been flung wide open. Twice in the last month, I’ve heard a little girl wake up screaming when I sat in the back of the house. Who knows how deep the hurt goes.