Blurred Brooklyn Memories

 

One summer, ages ago, I lived in Brooklyn. I used to take care of a gorgeous baby boy and we spent our days hanging in the neighborhood, exploring Prospect Park or just talking to the neighbors and their kids. I cherished that moments when the kids just enjoyed each others company, sharing their snacks and scouting for ants on the steps to our Brooklyn brownstones while the parents and babysitters were bitching about the heat and just watched our kids and totally relaxed while getting to know each other. Oh, those memories.

Right across the street there was this young couple living with their adorable daughter. I only met the mom a couple of times because she was working out of town. We never actually got to talk, like in-depth conversation, but she was always up for a little small talk, always friendly and she had this glow around her. I don´t know what it was, I can´t remember but I know I kind of envied her for her sweet her little family.

When baby J. and I hung out in front of the house those afternoons, their daughter often joined us. She was older than J. but she didn´t care and talked to me about her love of the color pink and how she loved to cook with her daddy and that he makes a mean lasagna and that she wanted me to taste it some day… Her dad seemed to be shy, he didn´t talk a lot at first but since his little girl was so easy around us, he opened up and felt more and more comfortable around our block.

I loved those summer days sitting on the stairs feeding and entertaining baby J. while talking to gorgeous M. about her dreams and how she convinced her dad the other day to paint her room pink. He was skating down the street to the farmer´s market while we were chatting, he trusted me enough to watch his daughter, and often returned with a variety of fruit for all of us. Baby J. was obsessed with mangoes, so M´s dad called him Mango Boy – it was like his Superhero name.

We tried out several popsicle combinations like blackberry-honeydew or hot pink strawberry-melon-mint which was of course M´s favorite and her dad spent one morning to cook a batch of lasagna for all of us. To this day it´s the best lasagna I´ve ever had and I am lucky he gave me the recipe.

We had a lot of great conversations about growing up, having kids, traveling, life basically. He was such a loving father, doting spouse and an overall great guy. I considered him a true friend and as I had to leave a couple of months later, he hugged me for a long time and told me to call when I am in town again and if I need a place to crash. He was such a loving person and I knew I am going to miss him a lot as well as his adorable daughter and my baby J.

A lot of stuff happened, life got in the way I guess and instead of traveling the world as I intended to, I was stuck in a corporate job I hated, in a life I despised and basically I kind of became my own nightmare. I don´t know how it happened. At least I realized it and one night, I emailed my former neighbor. He told me how incredibly busy he was and about life´s obstacles and how much he loves his daughter and that everything happens for a reason and that we should definitely catch up when I am in town again. I was really looking forward to this. I was so unhappy with my life and I was desperate for his advice. I had a feeling that talking to him could be the wake-up call I needed so much and eagerly booked my flight for the upcoming month.

Two weeks later I was listening to the news as every morning while I was brushing my teeth as someone said that they found his body. That´s a hoax I told myself and quickly googled that matter. Sadly it was true.

Usually the international news channel would not address the death of my former neighbor and friend, not unless his name was Heath Ledger and he died incredibly young under somewhat mysterious circumstances.

Yes that´s true. I never blogged about my time in Brooklyn because I am not name-dropping and I will never talk in detail about our conversations and the friendship we shared but to this day I still tear up when I think about him. He was such a caring, loving, self-less, empathic and funny human being.

When I woke up this morning and heard about Corey Monteith´s death I couldn´t help but think about Heath and his tragic passing. I did not know him in person but I believe he was a very talented young man who died before his time, just like Heath.

And it feels like yesterday when we were sitting on the steps of this Brooklyn brownstone, when I fed mango chunks to baby J. while singing along The Killer´s hit Mr. Brightside with little M. and her dad while she tried really hard to not mess up the pink nail polish she put on his pinky finger´s nail.

“This moment, that´s what life is all about, you know”, he said to me smiling.

I know. Now, I know and I miss those summer days. I miss you.

 
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2 Comments

  1. Whoa, crazy. It’s amazing when certain people enter your life that you have a strong connection to, and it’s even worse when they leave. I’m sorry about his death. I hope one day you can return to NYC and get more happy memories of the place.
    ~Sara