Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hans

The couple overhead, those of the squawking arguments and furniture dragging, they're moving out.

I've quietly seethed at them without ever engaging either of them in conversation and assumed awful things like rudeness and diffidence.

They've been upstairs for the last year and a bit and I'd barely passed them, living as I do in digs accessible by side entrance.

He cornered me yesterday in the garden when I was at my least sociable, hoping he would just go away while I finished taking in the clothes from the line. I prayed he would finish his cigarette without the need for more than a passing hello, but no dice.

He approached me with a handshake and we must have spoken for twenty minutes about this, and about that, and about everything from our shared respect for the landlord we're about to leave tenantless to his struggles with money, with work, with his life in Ireland, with his lust for home, with the idiot students next door, with no camaraderie.

He was a gentleman, a man equally inquisitive about my life.

They're moving out, I am too. He asked me if he and his wife had ever been too noisy overhead, as he knew what it was like to live on the ground floor.

"No, Hans, you're fine. You've been a good neighbour."

He shook my hand one more time and said he hoped to catch me again before we all move out. I took my two faces back inside to finish the dishes and silently wish them well.

8 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

Ah, don't kick yersel', we all say that when the crunch comes. After all, who wants a kick in the nuts if they don't have to have one?

Holemaster said...

My upstairs neighbours have concrete boots and a bawling baby but I like them so it's ok. But my bearded downstairs neighbour of the meticulous messy hair and seven lumberjack shirts is a fool no father could be proud of.

hope said...

No, don't feel bad. You've let your neighbors leave while thinking they were okay people. The way the world is today, it helps if people see some good in us....even if it's only for a moment.

River said...

I would have said and done exactly the same. While silently hoping never to see them again.

McMuck and the Mystery of the Kuúgleflarg said...

Two faces? You??

I simply won't hear talk of it.

Radge said...

A subtle rebuke, Mook!

blackwatertown said...

Once lived above a bloke in Dublin who brewed foul smelling beer in his kitchen. Naturally the fumes travelled through our flat. He wasn't bothered regardless of what we said. Until we somehow developed a leak that ran down his kitchen walls. Ain't life quaint.

Radge said...

Petty. I like that.