Hamna and Hadisha stood on the other side of the street staring at the same sea-gulls my son was staring at. The sea-gull was picking at trash bags. My son started chasing the bird away. The girls laughed and screamed. Their door was open, as was ours.
“Come play!!” they shrieked in excitement at my son. Hadisha – the three-year-old – was jumping up and down.
I said, “go ahead” and my son ran down the street the other way, hoping they would follow. He doesn’t understand English and thought they wanted to play tag. So instead I asked, “you want to come here?” and the girls didn’t hesitate a second. They ran over and upstairs, followed by my son. Still both our adjacent front-doors were open.
There was a lot of screaming and banging and throwing of toys. And then Hamna and Hadisha came down, holding my son’s hand. They were taking their prize home.
Mother came and introductions followed. They were from Pakistan. Ex-pats. They have taken a maid with them. She said I could come by if I was feeling lonely or wanted to chat. Her door was always open. “Same goes for you,” I said but then carefully chose my words to add, “I’m a writer. As of September I’ll be working from home a lot.” Her tired eyes dropped even more. I could see the weight of disappointment descend on her shoulders as she crossed the street.