My Neighbors

You know, neighbors can really make you crazy!

We live in a “complex” comprised of two 4-unit buildings that are attached.  That is, two units – one unit from each building – share a common wall in the living room of each apartment.

I live in one of those apartments.  My neighbor is Randa.  Before Randa, though, an older lady named Marie lived there.  

Marie Was The Best!

Marie had lived in these buildings for years.  In fact, she was living here when I was in high school!  When I first moved here, 20 years ago, she invited me into her apartment for lunch.  I had never experienced a brand new neighbor – in any place I had lived previously – inviting me to lunch in their apartment, so, quite naturally, I was intrigued.  Curiosity literally forced me to go have lunch with Marie.  (I’m glad it did!)  

At the outset, she told me she wondered whether I’d accept her invitation and then actually come.  I told her I had reservations.  After we got a good laugh about our first reactions to each other, we had the best time getting to know each other!  Our lunch date extended ‘way past lunch and almost into dinner.  

We were friends from then on.  Marie was about 20 years my senior, and we never had any problems.  It wasn’t unusual for Marie to catch me coming in from work and invite me in for a drink.  We talked a lot through our exterior doors – our inner doors were never closed.  We grew to be good friends.  I grew to love her very much.  She was a good friend and neighbor, stylish – never dated – dresser, a very cool person, warm, friendly, generous – and she had the best sense of humor.  We were neighbors and friends for the last 5 years of her life. What a blessing for me.  

After Marie passed away, Randa moved in.  

No Lunch for Randa

I didn’t invite Randa in for lunch.  Wasn’t feelin’ it.  Guess I’m not the woman Marie was.  Truth to tell, Marie was ‘way more outgoing than I’ve EVER been.

Anyway.  I tell you about Marie because it is my previous relationship with Marie that allows me to know that Randa and I share our living room walls; and our kitchens, laundry area and back doors are mirror images of each other.  When I open my back door, if Randa’s back door is open, I can see her laundry area, a little of her kitchen and a small part of her dining room.  And she can also see those areas of my place.  In addition, we share a back landing that goes into stairs between the first and second floors.

The landing isn’t a very large area – maybe six feet at the longest point and five in the other direction. The space between our back doors is smaller than that.  If my exterior door is open, Randa has to either call out to me or wait for me to finish whatever I’m doing and close my door before she can open her door.  It’s not as cramped as it sounds, and it’s enough room to comfortably bring groceries up from the garage and get them into the apartment.

We Get Along

Randa and I have a pleasant, neighborly relationship, in that we speak when we see each other and exchange superficial chitchat. 

Randa is a middle-aged woman who has an adult son who lives with her from time to time, and several young grandchildren.  The grands and lots of relatives come to visit, whether Randa is at home or not.

I am easily 10 – 15 years older than Randa.  I don’t have children or grandchildren, so my “family” consists of my best friend Joyce. Joyce works as a caregiver, and sometimes I feel like one of her “people.”  She comes by regularly to look out for me.

Randa’s First Dog

A few years ago, Randa had a little dog.  When I caught a glimpse, it looked like a Yorkie mix – cutest thing – but it was rarely outside on the landing, so I couldn’t really tell.  While I only saw the pooch once or twice, I heard it practically all the time when I was in my kitchen.  Whining.  Crying. Scuffling with paper.   

I felt sad for the dog because it didn’t seem to be having a very happy life.

It was apparent to anyone with ears that there was a creature living next door – for about 6 months.

Then there were no more doggy sounds.

Randa and I didn’t have the kind of relationship that made me feel like it was all right to ask her questions about who or what was living in her apartment.  So I didn’t.

I just accepted that the Yorkie-mix had moved on – in one way or another.

About a year later, there was – or there seemed to me to be – evidence of another dog residing in the apartment across the way.  I didn’t even get to see that one.  But I heard it, and I heard her yelling.  A lot.

Again, I kept my mouth shut and minded my own business.

Like I said: Neighbors can really make you crazy!

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