A family moved across the hall from me. It came as a surprise since I thought there was just one woman. Turns out there are four of them stuffed into this tiny apartment including a seven year-old boy.
I met him in the foyer holding the door open. Naturally I asked what he was doing for security purposes…the building’s as well as his.
“I’m waiting for my mother who told me to wait here.”
“Where is she?” He was so young, I felt the need to ask.
“She’s parking the car.” I decided she must have thought he’d be safe in the doorway even though I didn’t approve. This is New York after all so leaving your kids even for a few minutes isn’t such a great idea.
I stalled so not to leave him alone…looking at my mail, rummaging through my purse. Finally I said, “You know, I don’t want to leave you by yourself, so if it’s okay I’ll wait with you.”
“I’m okay,” he said, pulling a stuffed alligator out of his backpack. “I have Danny, he’ll protect me.”
I was really at a loss…what do you say to that?
“Okay Danny, you’re in charge. If you need anything, ring number 8.”
“Copy that.” I had to smile at the voice change. Kids…they’re always good for a laugh.
I then left against my better judgment.
The following day who do I see come bounding down the stairs with a woman but this kid. “Hi,” I said, more than a little surprised. “Remember, we met yesterday in the doorway.”
“I live here,” the kid said, pointing to the apartment down the hall…this is my ooma.” His granny, an old Asian woman smiled, but clearly spoke no English.
“Well, I’m your neighbor across the hall…Susannah. How do you do?”
“Good,” he said, before scurrying away.
“How’s Danny?” I called out.
Funny how I know the alligator’s name, but not his.
Something tells me this is the beginning of a strange but beautiful friendship.