The spring air brought a lilt to his step as Mark set off on a brisk walk in the neighborhood after dinner. Children were playing in their front lawns and some were riding bikes on the side walk. The newest neighbor who had just move in a few weeks ago in 12 Cedar Drive had got a fencing around the house and the sign on the gate said ‘No Trespassing’.
As he walked past the house, a ball flew across the fence and landed in the flower bed of the garden. Little Sam looked at Mark with a forlorn expression seeking assistance in retrieving his ball. Mark hesitated, then looked at Sam, and took an emotional decision and turned towards the gate of 12 Cedar Drive. He hesitated for a moment, turned back and saw 6-year old Sammy looking expectantly at him. Mark made his decision, opened the gate and walked towards the flower bed. Suddenly, the main door opened and an angry looking woman stormed out, “How dare you enter my house?”
Mark was taken aback by the tone but maintained his composure and uttered, “Let me explain why –“
“No need. Are you blind that you did not see the sign?” the woman cut him off.
“If you will let me speak, I can explain why I am here.”
“I do not want to hear anything. Leave right now”, pointing her hand sharply towards the gate.
“I am not leaving till I have accomplished what I came here for”, said Mark who was on a mission as it was a young child’s happiness at stake.
“Are you serious? I cannot believe what kind of neighborhood I have come to. You have no purpose to be here. Leave now or I will call the police.”
“Listen Ms. whatever your name is, this is a lovely family-oriented neighborhood and you are welcome to be here. I am trying to tell you why I am here and you are not even letting me speak.”
The woman had taken out her cell phone and it seemed she was going to call the police when Sammy peered through the gate and said, “Mark, please come back. I don’t mind losing my favourite ball but I do not want you to get into trouble because of me.”
Mark looks at the woman as if to say, “Now you know why I am here.”
The woman’s demeanor suddenly changed and her face turned red with embarrassment.
“I am Lori and I am really sorry that I did not hear you out.”
She gestured to Sammy to come in and look for his ball. The three of them looked for the ball and found it. Sammy took his ball and ran back to play.
“Would you care to come in for a cup of tea, Mr. —“
“I am Mark” he hesitated first and then seeing the smile on Lori’s face, walked with her into the house.