My neighbor and my Buddha

I have this interesting neighbor. I can’t really call her eccentric, because I really have no idea who she is as a person. I just know that she takes walks to the end of the driveway, maybe to the end of the block. Sometimes she gets in her car and drives to the end of the block and returns home. I think she might be agoraphobic. And that she has an ongoing rival with my landlady over a certain flower bed that is on our property, but she feels otherwise. My landlady has a thing about red begonias, she likes to fill the two beds on the right side of the house with them. It is her joy to come upstate in the early summer and plant them, she receives a lot of joy from the day in the garden, and there are flowers when she leaves. It is really nice. Every year for three years, the neighbor has ripped them out of the bed in question. When Jane asks her about it, stone-faced, she denies it…
Anyway.
Earlier this summer when I came home from the west coast, dreaming of the west coast and wondering if I could take another winter here, I noticed that my Buddha statue was missing. He was usually looking in my dining room window from a flat rock in the back yard.My friend Gerard, Gina’s dad made him. He is a heavy garden Buddha and I love him. My friend Thinley, a Tibetan master of the paintbrush painted him one year when I made the mistake of leaving him at our old house a little too long. He is noe a gaudy chinese-ish gold, and in the winter, he is like a ray of golden sunshine.
I neeeeed him in the winter. My first instinct was that the neighbor took it. I know that is lame, but it is the truth being told.
I went to knock on her door to inquire. And found her lurking in the woods. She was watching me. Totally creepy. She told me that she had not seen Buddha, but there had been some kids running around the yard, and they were black. It was creepy.
So about a month ago, my son had a birthday party, and they were wreaking havoc about the yard and they freaked her out. She called me to ask me to contain my rabid son and his thug friends (which is not far from the truth, they were pretty sugared up). Then she called back to be sure that I knew that she didn’t mean anything about the kids being black….. And the Buddha topic was brought up. I let her know that I was not happy, and I was suspicious.
Ya know what she said?
“Well, did you look around? I mean you have that tarp in the yard, did you look to see if it was under there?”

Well no.
I hadn’t.
And I didn’t either.
Until yesterday.

There was my Buddha, face down under the tarp. He was covered in leaves and the paint on his face was chipping.
But he is back.

And what of the neighbor?
Why would she suffocate the Buddha under a tarp?

I couldn’t figure it out either so I went inside and made some apple crisp.

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