Several days ago one of the guys talked to me for the first time. I was locking my bike on the front porch, and he waved.
"In case no one has told you today," he said, pointing up to the sky, "Somebody loves you."
I smiled, surprised, and only blurted a meek "thanks." What should I have said? "Jesus loves you too." ? Well, I justify, he already knows that. Why do I clam up talking about God-ish stuff to strangers? In this case was it because I was so ready for him to say something racist to me that I was caught off-guard when he said something so totally true and kind? I think maybe. I wonder later whether God is the only thing we'd have in common anymore. Perhaps my memories are skewed and at that moment an ember of fear overtook all the things I loved about living in a small town and the family-like atmosphere and the often unquestioning kindness front-and-center.
I asked him whether he'd just moved in. He hints that they bought the place as a fixer-upper and it's been a pain in the ass to do the fixin' part. Well that explains it. Perhaps they'll flip it and head back out to the cornfields. Here's something strange, though: part of me kind of likes having them here. Comic relief, maybe.
Or perhaps another kind of relief too.