Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

I am a cursed woman. I've lost every cell phone I've ever owned, all of my cars acquire some weird, inexplicable and totally unfixable problem, like, oh, having no brakes at all ever even though there are perfectly good brand new brakes on it. That happened twice, come to think of it. Or the turbo blowing up in mid-Pennsylvania when I was *this* close to the cheesesteak I'd driven two days to hunt down and eat. I've owned three computers and two of them have fallen victim to a hit and run, high speed hard drive crash. The bank machine never works for me, neither does the credit card swiper thingie at the store. The systems are always down when I'm on the phone with whichever "system" I need to be that day.

It would seem that I am a walking electromagnetic pulse that destroys technology in my wake, which would only come in handy on the Nebuchadnezzar, which I'm not, I hope, and we're not even going to begin to talk about the hamsters. Oh, the hamsters.

The hamsters aren't really all that much a surprise, though. I have an unusually disproportionate amount of houses firmly lodged in Death, which explains why I've lost count of the number of close friends and relatives I've given back to this earth in my short 34 years. You know, if you believe in that sort of thing. Which I sometimes think I just might.

Where my terrible luck balances itself out in my life, as all things must, is in my location. More specifically, my knack for picking the exactly rightly perfect place to live at any given time in my life. My first real neighbor in my first real big-girl residence? Aimee Greeblemonkey. Yeah, that did NOT suck. I loved my neighbors after that, too. Then I moved my trying-to-be-ex husband into an apartment building that I just had a really good feel about, and a few months after I stopped letting him try to be my ex husband, the kids godfather moved in. He wasn't the kids godfather then, but oh is he ever now, like it or not. Hot Gay Russell was the guy that lived next door to Hot Young Chris and we're still all one big happy Melrose Place family to this day, just that now they've started catching up with me and getting families of their own. Copycats.

When my daughter moved into my abdominal cavity and we moved into a bigger house, we lived next door to and across the street from the best two neighbors a girl could ever ask for. Not kidding. I didn't ever think I could top that street, those people, that circle of friends. And then I moved to Canada.

She was the first neighbor on the street to come say hello, and her kids were the first to extend the offer of play to mine. She was the first person to ask about me, about us, and wait for an answer. She was the first person to explain The Way Things Are here, and help me adjust to the fact that my kids could just go, and they'd be fine. When our Very Bad Awful night happened and I opened to door to let the police out, the only face I actually saw in the mob of neighbors crammed on my doorstep was hers. The only mouth I saw was hers, and the only words I heard were hers, "If you need me, I'm here."

That's all she said. A year and a half later, I saw her again. I moved back to this old house, this pocket of suburban Canada, and she's been my best friend since. Our families are unforgivably mixed up in each other now. She lends me indian spices to rub on my Christmas ham, and doesn't judge me too harshly for it. We spend our holidays together, our kids spend their weekends together, we whittle away our evening hours on the curb out front with mugs of tea and spice cake and hushed giggles that I didn't know grown women shared. She teaches me The Qur'an and tae kwon do and why CSI is so much better than CSI Miami, we debate over who the hottest guy on our street is, we compare notes on our childbirths and childhoods. She is my son's teacher and the first teacher ever to try to help me with him, not just send me home with a laundry list of character flaws. My daughter calls her Momma, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Her children call me Auntie, and I consider it an honor.

I swore I wasn't going to get too attached to anyone here. I still am not fully recovered from the loss of what I had to tear out and leave behind in Denver to come here, and there was no way I was going to share that gaping space in the core of my being with anyone else. And then I met her, and her family, and the whole community I tripped and fell into when the house I actually wanted to move into got rented to someone else and I had to settle, and that's when the hole in my heart started to close.

And yesterday a moving van came and took her, her couch, her tea cups, her spice racks, her children and her husband away. Because the thing with having all your cards stacked in Scorpio, which is where Death sits waiting, is that even if you don't lose them forever, you always lose them eventually. That's the way it goes with these things. And today, I don't even want to walk out my front door.

You Say Goodbye I Say Hello