The woman eyes Levi suspiciously but not threatingly from the porch. Levi rests his hands in plain view on the battered 4 foot high wooden fence that seperates the sidewalk from the rear yards. "Hi folks, " he says trying to sould neighborly, " Just moving into the area, and taking a look about, don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, just trying to get a family into a house."
Levi thinks he may have volenteered too much information, but figures these people to not be too threatening. “Name’s Micheal,” the farmer states, " Ain’t got no trouble with you trying to move into anywheres but my three houses here."
“Levi’s my name, got a family that is being uprooted and needs a house, got one picked a few blocks over, just making sure of the area.”
“Ain’t to much trouble round here,” the farmer tells Levi. “Folks mainly keep to themselves and to their block. The settled ones will have a few houses together, if you are in a house and no ones bothered you for a few days, it’s yours.”
He circles the neighborhood a few more times and has several more light encounters like this one. His most notable one comes when he is able to offer one of the matchbox cars to a boy clinging to his father’s leg, the child’s eyes widen at the sight of a toy.
Levi returns to his home as the sun lowers to make up some dinner and be ready in case Jose returns tomorrow with a Levi cooks a light meal, drinks some water, and thinks about life with a family. And about leaving family behind. He remembers his family back on the island – carefree, camaraderie, community. He had that in the islands; he had that on the ship, he had that in his unit. Now? None of that exists. Well, he gets along with many, but the closeness is not there. Running into the elder rekindled the feeling of being displaced – not belonging. Belonging to family, to community, to a common purpose.
The day’s rituals complete, he thinks about Jose and his family. Leaving family is always terrible. They should be set-up as good as possible. Jose will have some ideas..income, comfort, security. Security…live upstairs…secure downstairs and adjacents…steel drop door to cover stairway……..rope ladder to escape from upper story……..neighborhood watch……….