A Quick Lesson on Happiness

Who: Ingris Melendez
Age: 32
City: New York, NY
Profession: Paralegal

Ingris and I are new neighbors. I met her a couple of hours ago but we bump into each other again; this time, she is with groceries bags. I get to meet happy-go-lucky, Evan, her 8 year old son, who is utterly adorable, and just naturally happy. Ingris seems rather content herself, even though she lives in a garden studio along side me. Not just lives here, she actually grew up in this building, and in that same studio. This concept blows my mind every time I meet people actually born and raised in New York, but, anyway. “Yeah, there were four of us in Evan’s room,” she chuckles to herself. “Back then, it was doable.”

“Guess how old I am?” Evan flirts with me as he hangs from the front of the grocery trolley. He carries one of the recent Superman DVDs in his left hand. His smile is enormous.

“I’m a paralegal for a divorce attorney,” she says. I rarely ask, “Hey, so, what do you do?” but this time I decided to just go for it. The minute she says this, I wonder about Evan’s father. I get the feeling that he’s not in the picture anymore. Later, when she invites me into her place, my instincts prove me right. I wonder if she used the attorney she’s working for?

“Guess.” Evan demands of me. “You’ll never guess,” he winks at me this time. I wonder if he thinks that’s what adults do to look “older.”

“So, you must be busy?” I joke with her. “Oh my god, it’s never ending,” she says throwing her head back, “We are the busiest during Easter, Christmas, New Years Eve, and Thanksgiving.” Wow. “You mean, you can just assume you’ll be busy come these Hallmark anniversaries?” She chuckles, “Something like that. It’s crazy, I know,” she smiles happily at me. “It’s long days and lots of paperwork, so it’s nice to come home and chill on the weekends.”
I can imagine.

“Ok, I’ll tell you. I’m eight. Did you guess it?” Evan asks me throwing his head back (he gets that from his mom) and leaning in on me, as he hangs from the trolley.

We laugh.

Author: pizzaslices

Liza is an actor and co-creator of Subway Token Films, a film production company that captures Street Level Miracles through films. That is, moments in our lives when the story as we know it stops, the lens is pulled back and something more expansive is revealed to us. Liza has won awards and audiences alike for her portrayals of the immigrant story on stage and film. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her partner, actor Felix Solis.