And there it was one morning, Tamara watched an old white car peek out of the driveway that appeared to be Jane’s. She remembered how she and her husband had discussed what might happen to her house. It had been about 6 weeks since she had left. The grass was overgrown and no longer resembled the manicured cut….would squatters enter the neighborhood? What would happen to the house? Sometimes off 59th street the main drag, when they went by apartments, Tamara struggled to remember the exact name of the apartment Jane told her she was moving to. A beautiful slinky black cat now called her house “home.” Although Jane had assured her that all the cats had been placed, it was hard to not challenge this statement as cats were not the most favorite of everyone. Next door, a middle aged Spanish man watched her saunter by as the cigarette hang lazily out of the corner of his mouth. He nodded hello. There was a notice on Jane’s door. Tamara read it: This property is in foreclosure. The tenant or tenants must vacate this property by June 18. This property is now the owner of World bank.”

Her mouth fell open as she remembered the long discussions with Jane about other neighbors in foreclosure moving, the struggling of their business, and the discussion of taking on roommates. Never had Jane divulged that she was in trouble and Tamara had assumed that Jane was living well on disability from Albertson’s. A mixture of emotions ran through her as she continued her walk back to her brick home she shared with her husband. Tamara and her pug passed the post man’s house. Outside the gate was the same cat that now came to feed at Tamara’s house. Inside the gate were a couple of chickens and the cat was openly stalking them from outside the gate. Tamara and Fist continued their walk on the now desolate street.

Morning rush hour was over as it was approaching 9:00 and there were no kids outside playing as the summer heat index was going to be over 100 degrees. Tamara quietly entered, gave the dog a snack and filled his bowl with ice cubes. Then she opened the back window shade over the French door calling to Sheba her cat to get some cat food. The other black cat who she was sure was Jane’s cat was not there. Tamara remembered how she and her husband had discussed if they had to leave the house who they would give the cat to and Jane’s name came up. Tamara leaned against the door and as her husband entered the kitchen, she told him the story, he looked at her with a smile and asked, “Are you sure the cat didn’t follow you here?” And then she was glad that they still had the home they bought in 2002 and despite life’s struggles, they were still intact and they were still walking every morning with the pug. There were those little things to look forward to as the image of Jane living in a small apartment on 59th street feeding the cats outside passed through her mind. This is my home. And she went to make breakfast.

In conclusion: maybe this is the beginning when the writer realizes that home is not a place but when you are surrounded by those you love. A couple of weeks later, Tamara ran into Jane shopping. Jane seemed content with her decision and promised to Tamara her phone number had not changed. The only difference was that she did not answer Tamara’s call anymore. Tamara wanted to tell her it is your friendship I value and not your property but she never had the chance. She also wanted to tell her that a package had arrived and was outside her door. Jane had also informed her that the property had been sold at auction. Tamara wondered when the new owners would arrive and mow the lawn and call it home. Cheers!

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