As time is wont to do, Summer became Fall, Fall became Winter, and Winter became Spring once again. During these long months, the people of Bryer Street had become very accustomed to seeing their new neighbor, whom they came to know as Andy.
Andy was like ole Sammy D. in some ways. After his first steps into the sun, it was more and more common to see him out for an evening walk. At first, he would offer an awkward nod or smile as he passed. Sometimes he muttered a shaky “Hi” or “How ya doin today”, but unsure of how to follow-up, he would make a clumsy excuse and shuffle on.
He knew more about cars than any of the residents would have ever suspected, he looked more the type to specialize in some form of computer technology, and would occasionally remark a ‘spot on’ diagnosis of a problem based on the sound an engine was making.
He gained a bit of admiration amongst the men. It was nothing they spoke of openly, but whenever he passed, they greeted him a bit more honestly. The women were cordial, but their trust wasn’t to be earned so easily. They continued to watch him with wary eyes whenever he passed and their smiles only masked their true expressions as they studied his every move.
Andy was very much like Sammy, in that he quickly grew to be a fixture in the community. Everybody knew of him within hours of his first appearance. Each person had their own story to tell about the strange young man from up the street.
“He knows so much about cars. It’s like he’s got the gift…”
“How can he afford to pay for that house when he never leaves for work?”
“He’s good with the children. They seem to like him too…”
“He’s sick. That must be why he stays home all the time!”
There were many different stories about the strange, young, Andy From Up The Street. Some were darker than others and none were more creative than those of the wives, told on rainy days from behind the safety of their curtains. Others were hopeful, with such imagined histories that included untold fortunes or entrepreneurial genius.
Though they spoke of possibilities, no story could be so much farther from the truth. They spoke of vast fortunes, and while he did not possess such a thing, he did have enough money to satisfy his particular needs. They spoke of illness, and much like the pipe dreams of hidden wealth, this, too, was not completely true. Though he was ‘as fit as a fiddle’, as the previous owner of his house might have once said, there was a certain something about him that wasn’t quite right.
Andy From Up The Street, because his neighbors didn’t yet know his last name and they were coming to accept that the previous resident was truly gone, was indeed, very sick. There was an itching inside of him that occasionally needed scratched, a desire that had to be catered to, and it had been far too long since he had given in.