For The Daily Prompt: Good Fences
They moved in two-years ago at the beginning of the Summer. There was four of them – two adults and two kids. At first they were not very sociable except for the first day I fired-up my new barbecue grill.
It was about a half-hour after that they come out into the yard and start waving to me and my wife. They nonchalantly strolled over to the fence and asked us what we were cooking for dinner. Their kids ran over to the fence with looks of excitement on their faces.
“Watcha cooking?” One of the kids asked.
“Cheeseburgers.” I said, with a smile on my face.
“Cool!” One of the kids exclaimed.
My wife, being the good woman that she is, quickly invited them to join us. Of course, she never bothered to ask me if we had enough food for everyone.
Time to scrounge up some hot dogs.
It was a pleasant day. We cooked, ate, we got to know one another and they presented themselves as a nice family. We even exchanged phone numbers. Later that evening they went home.
The next morning when I went out to my car I waved to them as they were milling around their yard. None of them waved back. Okay, maybe they did not notice me, I thought.
There was about three more times that week that me and my wife saw them outside in their yard and tried to communicate with them. Every time it was to no avail. My wife even called their phone number a few times when she knew they were all home, but there was never an answer.
We began to wonder if there was something we had said or something we did to offend them.
We could not think of any.
The next Sunday around noontime, I went outside and fired-up the barbecue grill. Within minutes, they all came out of their house and began walking around the yard. It was not before long that the husband and wife walked over to the fence.
“Hi neighbor, what are you cooking?” The husband asked.
“HI guys.” I said. I could not resist. “We tried to get in touch with you guys a few times this week, but there was no answer.”
They stood there and looked at me dumbfounded. Then the husband said,” Oh, don’t mind us, we’re usually not very social with strangers.” They both laughed.
“Strangers?” I thought to myself.
For a moment, I contemplated that remark. I tried to be fair in my deductive reasoning. Was there a reason they still considered us strangers? Was there a reason why they were anti-social? Was there are a reason why they were always looking for a free meal? Maybe they hit hard times and were afraid to tell anyone, or maybe – they were not very good with manners and had no problem with being standoffish with a friendly neighbor.
“I understand.” I said to them with a smile. They stood there for a few minutes more smiling and watching me look at the grill. Suddenly, and without even thinking about it, I turned the grill off and closed the lid.
“What are you doing?” asked the husband harshly.
“Oh, gee, I decided I don’t feel much like barbecuing today, bye now.”
As I walked away, I heard the husband say to his wife under his breath, “Well, I guess we’ll have to cook ourselves today.” Then they both laughed.
Those are my neighbors. Do not ask me what their names are because I forgot.
Now, we only refer to them as “Those people next door.”
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