Mrs. Pauley, my neighbor, had bad knees and I became her dog walker. It was my favorite pass time and Rocky, the black lab, was my buddy. Every time I came by the house, he greeted me with his licks and wiggles.
Mrs Pauley always offered me sweets, candies and chocolates, the fancy kind I have never seen before.
She would open her cookie jar and say. “This is from my baby son, Jake. He just came back from Japan. They are made of rice but they are cookies. He does not know I cannot have sweets any more. But you can. Have one. Tell me what they taste like?”
Or, she would say, “My son, Alex, got me some gifts for my birthday. I think they are chocolates. Fancy ones with liquor. Want try?”
She liked to talk, especially about her sons, their gifts, cookies and candies. But, I have never seen them at her house.
One day I asked. “Mrs. Pauley. How many sons do you have?”
“Six,” Mrs. Pauley said with a big smile on her face. “All six boys. They grow up so fast. My oldest, Alex, in Boston, is expecting a baby girl. I am soon going to be a grandma! My David and Daniel are my 2nd and 3rd. They both work in New York, on W. Street. No, I think it is Well Street? I cannot remember. They make good money. I am glad they are doing well. Then, my Jason and John, twin brothers. Both are in graduate school, studying chemistry. Maybe biology. I am so proud of them. Oh, my baby son, Jake, he is the sweetest. He sends me gifts, all the time.”
“Why haven’t I seen them here?” I could not help asking.
“They are busy,” Mrs. Pauley lowered her voice. “I am sure they will come by when they can. With my bad knees, I cannot go anywhere without causing troubles. You are only 12. You won’t understand.”
Two weeks later, I came back from school, saw a police car parked at her driveway and there was another man standing by her door. I was nervous going there so I went straight home.
“Mom, why there was a police car at Mrs. Pauley’s drive way?” I had to ask.
Mom was making dinner and answered without turning around. “I heard she is behind her rental payments. The poor woman, after Mr. Pauley passed away, did not have any income. I think they are coming to evict her.”
“What do you mean by evicting her?” I did not understand.
“Well, the house belongs to the landlord. He cannot have Mrs. Pauley stay there any more since she cannot pay him.”
“But, I want Mrs. Pauley to stay!” I ran upstairs, got my little piggy bank, and dashed out toward Mrs. Pauley’s house.
Rocky ran into my arms when I saw him. But, Mr. Pauley was gone.
The next-door neighbor came out and talked to me. “Mrs. Pauley wants you to take care of Rocky for a while. She will come back for him. She said she is sorry that she cannot say goodbye to you.”
“But, I got the money…” My tears were streaming down.
Every evening, I sat by the front porch waiting and thinking any minute Mrs. Pauley would show up. I missed her and Rocky missed her.
“Mom, do you know when Mrs. Pauley is coming back?” I asked again.
“Oh, Mrs. Pauley,” Mom paused for a while voice quivering. “She is not coming back. She… She wants you to take care of Rocky…. Now, go back to your room and do your homework.”
I never got to say goodbye.
Writing 101, Day 18: Hone Your View PointDaily Prompt: The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.