Neighbors to the South.

My next-door neighbor is a Muslim family from Pakistan: Mohammed, his wife, 2 teenagers, and an elderly mother. Whenever we see them, we are greeted with a wave and a warm smile. If we’re within conversational distance we sometimes say “hello, how are you,” chat about how our roses are doing, or how their cat loves to hang out in our backyard.

Mohammed’s son is about 17 and really into basketball, rap, and never staying home…developmentally on target, I think. And, the single product of two worlds…two cultures…like me.

One day I saw him sitting on the hood of his beat-up green Toyota Corolla, leaning back on the windshield, holding his phone up to his face. He was recording himself while rapping a song (presumably his own work) about math, clothes, friends, and “not giving a damn.” When he saw me walking by, he warmly said, “Hello!” with no hesitation, and a youthful confidence that could only exist now…this was his moment. I smiled and waved back. 

Their house is up for sale and I’ll be sad to see them go.

Addendum (March 2017):

They sold the house and close on their new 3-flat next month. Mohammed caught me one morning while I was pulling out of my garage to tell me that they were moving about 3 miles away, to a building that he will now own: one unit to rent out, the other two for him and his family. I congratulated him and said he was going to be a landlord now! He smiled, and said he’d miss all his kind neighbors. 

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