• StevenF

Unexpected News from Our Next Door Neighbors

We really like our next door neighbors. When Isaias and I first moved into our house in 2008, our next door neighbor was a young man named Pedro who would host loud parties all the time. He wasn't a bad kid, but his friends could be inconsiderate, often leaving beer cans and cigarettes on the ground.

He also had a very mean dog. He was a pretty tall pit bull and would pop his head above our wall when we were doing yard work, and I know if he had been able to, he would have bit us. I love animals, but I did not like that dog.

Pedro had some sort of psychological breakdown and broke into a neighbor's house. I don't know if he was on drugs or was dealing with some sort of schizophrenia, but he was acting irrationally and, of course, faced legal trouble for it.

We felt bad for Pedro. We think he was illegal, but he was a hard worker and was supporting his father and brother, who also lived in the house. He had big dreams and was trying to achieve them. He just made a big mistake during what seemed to be a psychotic episode.

He went to jail, and eventually the home went into foreclosure and his dad and brother and the terrible dog moved out. We tried to keep tabs on him through Facebook but never knew what happened to him.

I did read a news story about a man the same age with the same name whose body was found in the desert near Las Vegas. I do not know if it was the same Pedro. I hope it wasn't. But I also wouldn't be surprised if it was. If so, it is a tragic ending.

Anyway, the house next door remained vacant for some time, which was fine with us. That was better than the loud parties.

Eventually a couple and their daughter moved in. These are our friends, Jorge and Celia. They have been such good neighbors. They take care of their house and yard. We watch each others' homes when the other is away. We give each other gifts or bring each other food or drinks. They invited us to their daughter's quinceanera. We lend each other things and visit with each other. We hold on to each others' packages when the other isn't home. It's been a very nice relationship.

The other day, Jorge asked me if I could come over for a few minutes to do a favor for them. I came over, and Jorge informed me that they were getting a divorce and that they need someone to witness some documents they were filling out.

They were very matter-of-fact about it as well as amicable. I guess it has been a long time coming, but they wanted to wait until their daughter graduated from high school to make it official. I guess Celia will be moving in with family members somewhere else in town and Jorge will remain here.

I was kind of devastated, like a naive kid who just learned his parents are divorcing. And Celia and Jorge kept apologizing to me that they had dragged me into this situation. I didn't mind helping them; I was just sad this was the reason why.

But the truth is, my perspective on their relationship is, of course, different than theirs. They, of course, know their marriage intimately, and this is what they both feel is best, and who am I to dispute that.

And that's the thing: an outside observer only sees the outside of a marriage or relationship. We never know what is really going on inside the way the couple does.

I know I have experienced several episodes of dear friends who seemed perfect for each other later getting divorced and how sad and confused it made me. But I was never in those relationships, and so, of course, the couple did what they felt they had to do and what they felt was best and needed. But as an outside observer, I often felt shocked and discombobulated by it.

Anyway, although I'm sure it is for the best—after all, why stay in a relationship that makes one unhappy?—Isaias and I have saddened by this new development. The good thing is that we are a little closer to Jorge than we are Celia, so I am at least glad he will be staying. But we will miss seeing Celia.

Anyway, it's just been some sad news that has affected me more deeply than I would have thought. I wish them both (and their daughter) well.

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