TITLE: Mr. Evans
By Michelle Massaro
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Mr. Evans sat on his porch, looking past the front lawn and across the neighborhood he had lived in for over fifty years. The spruce tree towering above the second story roof had been but a sapling when he first moved in. Back then, folks used to give a hearty “hello” to their neighbors when they walked by; not like nowadays when everybody seems to inhabit a tiny world all their own and can’t be bothered to lift a friendly hand to wave to a passing stranger. No, today folks don’t even know the names of the people living right next door. Even on a day like today, when the sidewalks were busy with foot-traffic, people talked on cellular telephones or shut out the world with music in their ear-pieces, rather than acknowledge those sharing the world side-by-side with them. Times sure had changed.
Memories floated on the breeze into his waiting heart; His children once played on this lawn, laughing and dancing through the sprinklers on hot summer days. Later, there had been nights when the porch light glowed, as he waited for one of them to arrive safely home.
There was no one to wait up for now. The children had grown up many years ago, and Joanna had been home with the Lord for almost ten years. Mr. Evans blinked back the tears threatening to escape and land on his cheek.
“I miss her, Lord.” He whispered aloud. “I miss them all.” Loneliness seemed to envelope him like a thick fog. When was the last time anyone had come to visit? They had all forgotten him; Forgotten that he spent his days and nights alone in a big empty house full of memories; Forgotten how he used to sit with them when they were sick, or pray with them when they faced challenges. They had all left him behind as they moved forward with their lives. Nobody thought of him anymore.
“Lord,” he began, but the words would not come. Mr. Evans sighed and looked down at his weary, age-worn hands. Those hands had cradled babies and swung many a hammer in their younger years. Now they had barely the strength to open the bottle they held. But soon, he would wake up with Joanna, and this broken down body of his would be but a memory.
Gnarled fingers rubbed at wayward tears as Mr. Evans swallowed the lump in his throat.
“Hiya Mister!” The small voice startled him. “I’m Peter! What’s your name?”
Looking down, he saw a small tow-headed boy with twinkling eyes standing on his porch. “I’m Mr. Evans” he replied.
“Nice to meetcha! I just moved in across the street.” The little boy stuck out his hand, and Mr. Smith took it. “Ya know somethin’ Mr. Evans? Jesus loves you. I know because He told me to tell you that. You wanna play with me?”
A smile tugged at the corner of the old man’s mouth. “Well now, Peter-” he began.
“Oh, I’m so sorry sir!” A woman’s voice rang out from across the street. “Peter, you get over here and leave that poor man alone.”
“That’s quite alright,” Mr. Evans called out, “we were just having a nice conversation- weren’t we Peter?”
“That’s right, Mama. Mr. Evans and me was going to play.”
“Not now, Peter. You have to come inside and help unpack your things.”
“Aww!” His tone dripped with disappointment. “I gotta go Mr. Evans. Maybe we can play tomorrow. Bye!” The little boy scuttled across the street to his waiting mother.
“I’m very sorry if he disturbed you.” She said, as she scooped Peter up in her arms and turned toward her house.
Mr. Evans watched them disappear behind their front door. He pushed himself up out of his wicker chair and, slowly, made his way up to his own door. Inside, he walked to the kitchen and gingerly set his prescription bottle back on the counter.
“Lord, I guess I’m sticking around a little bit longer.”
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