I’ve not been a good neighbor. There are four homes close to mine, and I know the names of the inhabitants of only one. I’ve spoken to the inhabitants of only one. I’ve lived here for 17 years.
The gentleman who lives next to me, across the side-street, has not lived there long. Perhaps six months. Perhaps a year. His is one of the only homes in my neighborhood to have a flagpole. It’s surrounded by a tidy, well-landscaped bit of yard. Since he moved in, he’s flown two flags. The American Flag, and under it, a Pride Flag.
Last night someone burned it down. A coward, under cover of darkness and while my neighbor slept, set fire to it.
My son saw it burning and together we ran across the street. The remains of the rainbow and the red and white stripes lay among the carefully placed rocks and grass, burning. We stomped it out. I called the police.
Five, maybe ten minutes earlier and I may have seen who did it. I could’ve stopped them perhaps, or otherwise ensured they did not escape undiscovered, uncaught. I would’ve liked to see them shamed and punished. Though I’m quite certain their self-righteous and craven ignorance would render them immune to shame.
Because they’re deeply stupid cowards.
So last night, at 1:30 am, under the burnt remains of that flagpole, I introduced myself to my neighbors, and they introduced themselves to me.
And tomorrow I think I’ll buy a Pride Flag.