Midnight, My Brand New Neighbour
I had moved into my very first independent house in a new place, after having lived in a rented cottage with a family for many years.
It was both exhilarating as well as scary, to begin living inside your very own home, with no one to interfere, or to come by or even check up on you! I had yet to meet the new neighbours and so every evening coming back to my new dark grey stone house, with only one pot of philodendron with its heart shaped leaves shining, and some dark green ivies, and a few ferns, was always cheering as well as a little glum!
There were many small lanes in that zone so I often got a little lost, before finding my house!
Then one evening when I came home breathlessly after being a little lost again, I opened the garden gate and something made me look up. There was a cat, black as midnight sitting on my roof. She looked down at me and I was stunned! I did not even know then anything about cats. I had forgotten that cats had been embedded in my childhood, very long ago!
This was a brand new stepping backwards into the feline zone! She was such a gorgeous kitty, black as a model’s dinner dress, and so still, that I felt an instant peace. Then she blinked! I had met my very first neighbor and what an enchanting one she was! Her eyes were golden and added to her glamor.
I had no clue what to do about her. All I knew was that she had blinked and invited me into my own home like any good neighbor should do!
Every evening this cat seemingly painted by midnight itself would welcome me back. And her whiskers were cool! But when I opened the terrace door to go closer she vanished! I had begun to feel the utter delight and thankfulness of being summoned into the mysterious inner room of furry serenity bringing back many small and big memories from magic lost and now found.
Then of course as I got to slowly know the human neighbours in the block, they had all kinds of things to say – beware of a black cat and bad luck and accidents and other trite and stupid advice.
When my family began to call up to find out more it was
time to make a clear and crisp appraisal of all my new neighbours!
- The one on the right – a mom with two very noisy, overwhelming teenage boys, unnerved me by first of all depositing a 100 potted plants of hers in my brand new empty garden space! “This should not trouble you too much right? I will take it back after we finish some work in our house she said. I was too stumped to respond. She had done this just after passing over 18 to 19 plates of snacks in one single day, over the garden wall, telling me to eat up as this came free from the hotel where her husband worked!
- Then the following month, I came to find her two sons and friends had let themselves into my house, using the spare key I had given their mother for safekeeping, to watch my television, empty out all the juice and soft drinks in the fridge, and dump trash all over the floor.
- Then I had to hear a daily deluge of heart stopping family dramas about the drinking son, the jobless brother, the unhappily married niece and much more.
It came to a state when all I wanted when I came home from a rotten or a carcinogenic day at work, to find just one neighbor waiting to greet me! She gave me no bad luck, no accidents, no horror or terror. Once I even found her calmly settled down upon four pots of the succulents that the neighbor had filled up my small garden with!
The shy black kitty gave me the silver and golden gift of silence, and blinks that crept into my heart like hugs from heaven!