Old neighbour

Just across the street from us is a small, white house. When we moved here four years ago, we would often hear music playing in the house on summer nights. It was good old times music, from 1940’s and 50’s – the kind that makes you want to waltz on the street.

The lone resident of the house was a little old lady. I didn’t get to know her very well, I just said hello every now and then when I saw her. I think she was half deaf, her music was so loud and she spoke loudly as well. She had a cat, we heard her calling her cat in the evenings.

Almost two years ago in the fall I saw an ambulance picking her up. She was on the stretcher, and asking about her cat. Another lady was there, her caregiver, I think. She promised the old lady to find the cat and take care of it. The ambulance left, that’s the last I saw of the old lady. Her caregiver locked up the house, didn’t worry about the cat but left.

I’ve often wondered what happened to the lady. Maybe she ended up in a care home somewhere. The house has been empty ever since, there has been no more music on the street. I’ve also wondered what was the fate of the cat – maybe one of the cats I’ve seen around was hers? I was hoping the old lady would return, and I had decided to get to know her better if she ever came back home.

Today there was a truck from 1-800-got-junk in front of the house, and young guys were emptying the house, loading up furniture and everything. Somehow it made me really sad. I realized once again how little we know about our neighbours. I have no idea if the old lady is still alive or not. She’s clearly not coming back home if she’s still alive – I will never find out more about her.

It feels like our lives are like a loosely woven rug – we see each other in the street and maybe say hello but don’t get to know each other. But loose rugs don’t last long, they are fragile and come apart easily. I would love to be part of a tightly woven community where people care about each other and know each other. I realize a place like that can be tough to live in – I grew up in a small village where everyone knew who I was and what I was up to. But there’s a security in a place like that – if anything had ever happened to me my parents would have heard about it really quickly.

It also bothers me that it was the Got Junk guys who were loading up the perfectly good furniture. Is it going to end up at the dump? Such waste if it does… I hope they have some other way of disposing of the good stuff, i.e. giving it to charity or something… But this is a minor concern… I’m just sad I never got to know the old lady.

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