The New York Review of Books, September 24, 2020 Issue
Mourning in Place, Edwidge Danticat
My neighbor died recently. I saw the ambulance arrive. The red and blue strobes bounced off every glass surface on both sides of our block. She was eighty years old, and ambulances had come for her before. There was that time she broke her arm in her backyard, and already accustomed to osteoporotic and arthritic pain, she treated herself until her movements led to other fractures. She ended up staying in the hospital for several days because her blood pressure wouldn’t go down, then she spent a few weeks at a rehab center.
She was among the first people we met when we moved to Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood eighteen years ago. We had an avocado tree in our yard, and one day we saw her standing outside the gate looking at it. The gate, locked only with a metal coat hanger, allowed easy access to the avocado tree. For years before we moved in, when the house was empty, everyone on our block could come into the yard to get avocados. Our buying the house changed that.