I knew this day would come, I just wasn't prepared for the heartbreak.

My neighbor Courtney was more than just a neighbor, she was a friend, and boy did she know how to chef it up in the kitchen. For years I would follow her cooking wherever she worked and she never disappointed.

Little did I know the first day I moved to New Bedford's West End, that I would be sharing a backyard with her. Visions of buffalo chicken eggrolls and t-bone steaks danced in my head and I was prepared to feast like a God. Imagine having the luxury of a well-renowned local chef asking every now and then to be a taste-tester or if you want leftovers simply because she doesn't know how to cook for a small family. That's a slice of heaven, my friends, and I was living my very best life.

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My fiance and I even installed a double-sided mailbox between the fence that divides our neighbor's yard from ours. It was used quite often as hot chicken enchilada soup, homemade Portuguese gravy, and even fresh donuts from Grandma's Donuts were exchanged effortlessly. The mailbox shielded and protected the food from scavengers and weather if one of us weren't home to receive it. If the flag was up, then something special was waiting for us and as long as we washed the containers and returned them via the mailbox, the food kept coming.

Sadly this happy story has a sad ending and I knew it was inevitable.

The day Courtney found a boyfriend was the day my fiance and I died a little on the inside. She would eventually move out (we saw that coming way before things were even serious with them) and that would be the end of our gravy boat food system. Although we're extremely happy for the two love birds, we've accepted that life has to continue onwards without the benefit of casually getting a nice home-cooked meal.

Perhaps one day we'll come home to see that little red flag pointed upwards to the sky as a beacon of hope, but I won't hold my breath. The saddest mailbox in New Bedford is a real thing and it no longer serves a purpose as it sits all alone between two yards, rusting away with the seasons.

Gazelle/Townsquare Media
Gazelle/Townsquare Media

All that's left is an empty dish that symbolizes the "last supper" shared between neighbors,  patiently waiting to return home to its cupboard. Instead, it collects dust as the hands of time carry onward, soon to be forgotten.

That's life.

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