Call Me Mommy

I have a neighbor on the corner from my house. She’s about 60 or 65 years old and she despises me. Her dad lives on the opposite corner a block in front of her house. He sits outside either on his porch or in his side yard in a chair when the weather is nice. I started riding the  bus about a year ago and both of their houses are on the way to and from the bus stop I use. Every day when I would get off the bus at 4:45, he would be sitting outside. I would wave when I walked by and he would return the wave. This went on for a couple months and then one day he said I didn’t have to walk all the way to the corner and around, I could just cut through his yard and get home quicker. Even though it was really only about a 4 second short cut, but he offered so I took it. Then, as I would cut through some days, I would stop to chat with him. For no more than ten minutes. Some days he would be on his porch. Other days he would be sitting in that chair on the side. He would give me a tomato or two. He would tell me stories about his dead wife or about how much the neighborhood changed in the forty years he has lived there. He was just a lonely old man. He has a couple of daughters including the one that lives on my street. They are all old enough to be my mother. Apparently, they didn’t like the fact that I was stopping on my way home to say hello to their dad because they basically started stalking by my house and driving by really slowly until one day one of the daughters stopped and asked me why I visited their dad. When I told her I was just being neighborly and saying hello she said she thought it was inappropriate because they had just lost their mother a year ago and they thought he was getting too attached to me because he called me sweetheart when he talked to me. Did I mention he’s 92? I don’t think he even knows my name. And I live in the south. Everyone calls everyone sweetheart here. Anyway, after about the second or third time of one of them stopping me on the street and telling me to stay away from him, I realized that these devout Sunday Christians would probably burn my house down so I stopped going by. I stopped waving. I basically stopped even walking on his side of the street. It’s been months and still when the daughter who lives on my street comes into my job, she rolls her eyes at me. And today when I was headed to the bus, she stopped in the middle of the street to stare at me and say something mostly to herself because I couldn’t hear her. I’m not sure why it pissed me off so bad, but it did. And I thought, next time she decides she wants to stop and stare and roll her eyes, I think I may just tell her to keep on harassing me and I’ll start visiting her daddy again and by this time next year, she’ll be calling me Mommy.

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