Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"...The Capilphanos' granddaughter living without her mother, Mr. Zipkin losing his job, and Mrs. Hennessy getting robbed. I sat there on the porch, with a cigarette and another glass of wine, listening to the crickets and the occasional car. It occurred to me that the quiet of the suburbs had nothing to do with peace".
Melissa Bank - The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Our neighbours are nice people.
Pardeep and Cala are a nice couple.
They are friendly and easy.
I leave cards in their mailbox wishing them a happy and healthy Diwali, and they bestow me with delicious Indian sweets in mine.
Our talks are corralled to the driveway and I've only been inside once, when Cala generously lent me a sari for a school unit on India one year.
I told her how beautiful, wonderful and graceful looking saris were, and how I longed to wear one.
She encouraged me, and offered one from her closet for me to keep.
I declined only because I know how expensive they can be and didn't want to take advantage of a gift that I would not have been able to pull off with the grace that women who grew up wearing them could give expression to.

It was with sadness and compassion that I came to know that Cala and their eldest son were bi-polar.
The eldest boy had his first episode after he was beaten at school by a gang of bullies in 11th grade.
Sometimes, I would stand on the landing and watch this boy in the winter shovelling snow by himself by moonlight late at night.
Pardeep said that he likes to be alone...and out in the night, in the snow, he always looked just like that - alone.

I felt for him.
A young man disconnected.

Pardeep told The Mister and I not to be alarmed if we saw the police at their home on occasion, and shared some of the life and things that he dealt with on a daily basis.

One morning Pardeep announced that he had had an aneurism and that he was now blind in his left eye.
"My headlight is out!" he exclaimed laughing.
Yet, every spring he marvels at The Misters garden and proclaims "the beauty and miracle of God, and nature".

And the police come.

And Pardeep takes care of his family.
And every dusk, I see Pardeep and Cala out for their evening stroll together, sometimes with their eldest.
Side by side.

And I watch for a moment from my step, and think to myself:

"This is a man worth his salt."