I was a bit hasty in my assessment of the mental lady neighbour downstairs. She is, as I was warned, quite insane, but in an impossible to have a straightforward conversation with way rather than the interfering and meddlesome way I had feared. She does have quite a knack for catching me as I’m coming or going and engaging me in such impossible conversation. I always try to flee before I am collared.
“Whitfud? Whitfud! Whitfud?”
I struggle to find my key and get indoors.
“Is that Whitfud? Whitfud?”
I’ve explained at least three times now that Whitfud is away and I am looking after the place. She often fails to grasp this, and I cling to these frequent cases of mistaken identity as a legitimate reason to purposefully ignore her.
“Huw? Huw! Huw?”
Bugger. She remembered. I have to respond.
“Hello!” I cheerfully say, in the tone of a man who is midway through walking in his door and won’t be stopping.
“It is you! I thought it was Whitfud!”
“No, Whitfud is away,” I tensely say, having now opened the door and being eager to escape.
“It’s my birthday today!” she says, stopping me in my tracks.
“Happy birthday,” I mumble guiltily.
“I’m having a party for all my friends! You’ve got to come.”
“Really?” I say, unable to help but dwell on the juxtaposition of her last two sentences. “Well, maybe I will pop in.”
“Will Whitfud and his wife be coming too?” she continues.
“No, Whitfud is…”
“Have you seen my cat?” she interrupts. “I haven’t seen my cat today. People can be very cruel to animals you know. I worry about my cat. She is fifteen. Fifteen is very old for a cat.”
Later on, evening has fallen and I’m tidying up the kitchen. I cast my eye over the vast amount of booze I purchased the previous day. In particular, I look at the remaining five bottles of wine. I don’t even particularly like wine. I mull things over and reason that there’s nothing wrong with being nice, and pick up what I think I remember as being the cheapest bottle and put my shoes on, vowing to hand it over and disappear off into the night, and most definitely not get dragged into this party. Things are not that bad.
5 weeks ago