On Monday I finally asked the concierge’s wife where our missing neighbour was. It turns out the answer involved both diabetes and Europe- as apparently he was in Italy, maybe, to have some kind of medical procedure done and he would be back next month. Maybe.
Then the very next day, larger than life, he appeared. I found him sitting in one of the plastic chairs at the front of the building, chatting to the concierge and entertaining the family’s two younger children. He greeted me warmly and told me about the cost of living in Germany (not Italy after all). It was as though he had never left.
I walked away wearing his infectious smile and thinking what a coincidence it was that he returned the very day after I had enquired about him. Or maybe not such a coincidence after all. Sometimes the answer is already there, just waiting for us to be ready to ask the question.