Monday, March 19, 2012

mysterious neighbor

Every day I drive through an intersection a couple of blocks from my house. On one corner of that intersection, surrounded by a chain link fence, sits a little white house. Built of wood, it looks as though it was probably built 100 years ago when the area was covered in cherry and apple orchards. A few fruit trees hug the edges of the small yard that is cut across by the canal.

 The only person I've ever seen there is a man, probably in his late 40s to mid-50s. He is tall and fit and ALWAYS tan. I know this because he ALWAYS wears blue shorts. These are not the kind we see kids wear today. These are bright blue and fairly short. Definitely not to the knees. Definitely not baggy. In the summer, he wears them without a shirt. Flip-flops and blue shorts. That's it.

Today, he was out shoveling snow off the walk in front of the house. And he had them on. Blue shorts! It's not the first time I've seen him in winter in his blue shorts. Today, he did have on a shirt with a vest over it, some boots, and a hat--but his legs were bare, and tanned.

Over the years, I have seen him about his property at all times of day. Always in the blue shorts. And so, I've wondered:
What does he do?
Does he have any family or friends?
What does the inside of that house hold?
Why shorts all the time? Why blue ones that look like they came from the 70s?
How is he always tanned--and with the kind of tan that looks like it's all over? There's never a white line or gradual fading to suggest otherwise.

Now I know my wondering makes it seem like I've watched him more than is respectful. Not true. But I drive by his house everyday and have done so for almost 12 years. Over that time, I've seen him a lot. He doesn't change. And neither do my questions. Who is he? What is his story?


  1. Some people always remain a mystery...

  2. Hmmm. This post has me giggling, but I also think I get what you're saying--people who we see and never know. Reminds me of Jaqueline Woodson's book After Tupac and D Foster.