I had the strangest morning. I was out walking Toby when an ambulance and a fire truck pulled into the apartment complex and into our bay in the parking lot. We waited at a distance to make sure we didn’t get in the way, and Toby did his thing (I ended up getting cornered for not immediately picking up after him).
It was cool outside and the air finally clear after a humid spell the past few days. The pecan trees along Quail Creek often seem to sweat their Spanish moss when the air gets thick and heavy. A morning when the balcony’s door handle doesn’t feel sticky is a good morning. The ghosts of the night before turn into the breath of angels hovering over the leafy ground.
Louisiana really is quite beautiful. The contrast of bold, gold-dripping sunshine with rich, dark walnut trees; rain and humidity smears thin, terra cotta silt into mahogany loam. Turtles settle on logs in the creeks, as if supervising the world’s affairs.
The neighbor below and kitty-corner was born and raised in the countryside surrounding Shreveport. His name is Jimmy, and most days he sits on a worn, white plastic chair on his patio, smoking and drinking. Lately, he’s got a plastic crate of pecans by his side. He wants me to bake him a pie and give my fiance a son. I told him we haven’t even been married yet.
I wouldn’t say I was worried to see the EMTs at his apartment this morning; but I was curious and a bit desperate for some sliver of neighborhood gossip. I’m a newsie, after all. Or at least…I was. Now I’m just nosy.
After stowing Toby inside the apartment and unplugging the Christmas tree, I packed up my laptop, slung my purse over my shoulder and headed out. I peeked around the corner at Jimmy’s patio and was surprised to not find Jimmy sitting there with a smoke in his hand. Instead, I found a ruddy, disheveled (to be kind), lanky white man sitting on Jimmy’s white chair. His left left was bound with an Ace bandage.
“Are you OK, sir?”
“No ma’am, I’m not OK. I broke my leg.”
“And the EMTs wouldn’t take you?” “No, ma’am.” “No insurance?” A barely detectable nod. “I don’t have any either. I know how you feel. Where’s Jimmy? Do you stay here with him?”
Gesturing toward the apartment. “Are they taking care of you?”
“No ma’am I got nobody. I’m homeless.” I heard voices coming from inside and had seen Jimmy out on the patio when the EMTs were there.
“OK, well just sit there and I’ll check on you when I get back.”