On Wednesdays I mow the widow’s lawn across the street. Evidently she has a lawnmower left by her late husband, but we don’t think it’s worth trying to find, so we just bring our own. A short hill and a well-paved road separate the two properties, so it really isn’t too much hassle, particularly compared to mowing the lawn itself. I don’t know when her husband died, but my parents make it seem like it was before they moved in. She was the first widower on the block, followed by the man beside her. My mom will probably be the next, so she takes care of the other two either out of empathy, or self-preservation.
The man is fine, he explores the neighborhood and tends to his garden. He walks my dog for exercise, and complains to my mom about people who park on the wrong side of the street. But the woman drinks too much, thinks about her dead husband, then suicide. My mom says that she tries often, a repeating cycle of ambulance lights that I see from my room. The local paramedics can tell when she’s seriously in danger, and when she just wants company. A few nights ago, the ambulance came and kept its lights on, illuminating my small studio with red and blue flickers. I watched, afraid of what I might see coming out of the doorway. Paramedics sauntered in without urgency, and returned without a gurney.
And so I mow, worried of what I might see if I look at her window, but I still do. Every Wednesday. I want to see her staring back at me, maybe to give a simple nod of gratitude that the woman with the sick husband across the street sends her son to care for her well-being. Or maybe the woman in the window will scoff, like the overgrown lawn is a sentimental attribute of her late husband.
I guess I just want to know that she is alive in there, physically and spiritually, but she never comes to the window. And might never even know that her lawn is clean before it becomes overgrown again.