The house we first lived in, the one we shared with two friends, the house that had four bedrooms and when our parents came over we all pretended that we used all four instead of two - it's for sale. I wonder if the sellers know the house's secret, something an elderly neighbor told us when we lived there 30 years ago.
Someone killed himself in that house. Shot himself.
We used to go from room to room, debating which it had been. I don't really believe in ghosts, but it seems like the despair and the horror of that moment of that would linger. We finally decided it was this small bedroom off the garage. It was made of cinderblocks, was always cold, and had tiny windows. It was depressing.
I have no idea if we were right.
A few blocks away, a stout guy with a thick neck lived. He used to stare at me while I ran up or down his street. Just stare. He didn't look away. He made me feel like a piece of meat. I used to feel anxious. I fantasized about flipping him off or yelling at him. I still run down that street now.
Then about four or five years ago, I saw him struggling to put his garbage and recycling bins on the curb. I helped him push them out.
"I see you running all the time," he wheezed. "Good for you. I just had a quadruple bypass. You'll never need one of those." Talking to him made me wonder if he had ever really been the terrible person I thought he was.
I have no idea.
Last week a firetruck passed me while I was running. When I crested the hill, the firetruck was pulling away from the old man's house. An ambulance was out front, lights flashing, and the paramedic was just slamming closed the back gate. Then he got in the ambulance and talked to his partner. He was in no hurry.
This week there's a new car out front, with California plates.
A year or two ago our neighbor died. He was a hoarder who lived alone with his dog. I had only spoken to him a few times. His long driveway was lined nose-to-tail with Vanagons that didn't run. The porch was heaped with black plastic garbage bags. The house was in such bad shape that it was decided to tear it down and start over.
Will I like the new neighbors or will I never really know them?
I have no idea.