Wednesday, December 07, 2011

My upstairs neighbor has disappeared


My upstairs neighbor disappeared. Well she didn’t really disappear, her nephew and niece came from Maryland to take her back with them to a little room or apartment somewhere in that state. She’s 78 and not doing so well, imagining things that weren’t there, complaining about no heat, and claiming that she owned our building and was the landlord. So how about giving us some heat Maureen I jokingly asked her one chilly morning.  “I’m working on it” she replied. For a few days and nights I heard noise above me, things being moved, dropped and shoved around. What the hell was she doing up there I wondered. It turned out that Ken her nephew was up there packing up some of her things. He knocked on my door one evening to apologize for all the noise and asked if I wanted to come upstairs and pick out anything I wanted to take. At first I said no. I had more than enough things and was myself trying to downsize my own belongings and stuff, but I thought why not, and went up to have a look. “It’s all junk,” Ken said.  He was pretty much right in that department. The apartment was a mess, crowded and hoarded. Maureen had lived here all her life; she grew up here and, lived in this small apartment with her mother until she died. Maureen  remained there all these years. I thought she was a lesbian, and all the bowling trophies that were everywhere in the apartment cinched it for me and no I didn’t take any of them as a souvenir.  She took out her stove a few years back. “What do I need a stove for?”  she asked me. Over the years on and off she was trying to fix up her apartment herself, which included replacing the electricity. So the two bedrooms had no lights when I went up there to take a look. I was always appalled by her messiness and worried that it was a disaster just waiting to happen. Thank God she didn’t smoke. I guess I could have taken some things if I could have seen what was up there, and I know I could have gone back up there during the day, but it was too sad. I mean a life was being dumped. There were lots of photographs and some of her paintings that she did on Sundays, but I just walked out of there with a nice lime green bowl, that Peter’s Thanksgiving day mashed potatoes looked really nice in, and a cheap white ceramic Nativity scene whose figures I thought would look nice next to my colorful clay one that I bought in Baja so many years ago. I knew that soon the landlord would be gutting her apartment, ripping everything out, the floors, the walls, the toilet and anything else that he could tear out, so he could do a cheap renovation and charge big bucks for it. Maureen was paying $400.00 for it, but she had lived here since 1933. She was a good neighbor quiet and nice and now I hope that whoever moves in above me is also quiet and nice. So last night my landlord, who by the way is also a nice young man called to tell me that the renovation will start tomorrow and the worst should be over by Friday.  In the rain today the workers ripped, tore and threw out her life as I watched from my kitchen window.  The noise was very bad, so I took myself out in the rain to The Museum  Of  Modern Art to look at the Diego Rivera murals and all the cute boys from foreign countries.

5 Comments:

Blogger JGodsey said...

as creches go that's a nice one

2:45 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

How melancholic

4:54 PM  
Blogger Jane Galloway said...

What a beautiful tribute to a life Ira...to a friend, to a moment in time.
Beautifully written...Thanks so much
Rev. Jane

9:52 AM  
Blogger Jane Galloway said...

What a beautiful tribute to a life Ira...to a friend, to a moment in time.
Beautifully written...Thanks so much
Rev. Jane

9:52 AM  
Blogger 'Zann said...

Poignant. Reminds me why it's probably a good thing to practice non-attachment to Stuff and maybe non-attachment in general. To create a center within our own beings, so we can more easily travel where life takes us.( Of course, dementia plays havoc with even the best-crafted center.)

5:21 PM  

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