The truth about my neighbors and the way they attacked me in the past weeks

August 21

My first mistake in ages….And I got rebuffed so horribly.. Last month I was so hungry and lacking money completely…I asked a neighbor who gave me in the past moderate amounts of money (less than 10 euros, only 2 or 3 times) as a loan and I always gave it back to her, I asked her again to give me only 4 euros because I was hungry and that neighbor (a pregnant young woman, very kind in the past towards me) refused. Then I asked her mother and she said that she doesn’t want her daughter to see that, and she gave me 4,5 euros in lei but she said that I should give it back to her avoiding her daughter seeing that and she was not specific in telling me when in the course of the day I can give it back to her, yet I took that money ( 20 RON, less than 5 euros) because I was hungry…After 2 weeks I wanted so much to give it back to her but I could not see her and it wasn’t clear when her daughter wasn’t home. I was so upset…Today I met her after a long time and asked for forgiveness and a clear stated time when I can give the money to her. And she got angry and screamed at me on the hall and finally asked for money right now but right now it is again the end of the month and I don’t have money at all…and she screamed that she will never give me money again, not even 20 cents for a pretzel and I got home very sad…It was not a real mistake and maybe she forgot the fact that she told me not to approach her when her daughter is home…

August 22

I lack money since 2007, I stayed hungry on and on half of the month, I don’t have clothes, I cannot repair my toilet since December last year…I cannot have a haircut…Read my last post, my last complaint. That neighbor came very angry to my door today asking for the money, less than 5 euros. She screamed, she threatened with police force, she swore a lot and insulted me a lot, I am not exaggerating. And I am not guilty, she really forbid me to knock at her door while her daughter is at home and it was not certain when her daughter was there…I am not guilty. Now, the end of the month I don’t have money at all… Now I went down in the street and I was lucky because a street vendor borrowed me that amount of money to give to this neighbor. She accused me on and on that she cannot provide support for my daily bread and she is not right, because I borrowed money only once from her! I asked her to accept at least a silver plated virgin Mary or one of my gold rings and she continued to say that I am a bitch or something like that and that it is not true that I don’t have money. I don’t really understand: is this only hatred and evil or deep inside she really thinks that I have some money? I was always so gentle towards others, why are they insulting me so?? I don’t have rights to work or to have a pension, it is true…and that woman yelled at me that her daughter, whom I gave my haiku chapbook, that her daughter worked more than anyone else. She also invented that I receive my pension together with her. I did not attack her daughter at all, I don’t understand her anger.

September 3

Once again that neighbor appeared on my way. She implied that I went to her daughter to ask for money. Of course it is not true. She said that I am not a serious person twice or thrice. She accused me again that I have a bank account and money, because I payed my debt to her so quickly last time, on August 22. I explained that so quickly, in only a few minutes, it would have been impossible to retire money from a bak account for her and I was obliged to borrow from a street vendor. I explained that I never had money, which is true. Only once I couldn’t pay in time my debt to her and it was her fault, as I explained days ago, I was always a serious person and in the last 7 years I barely had money for food, which destroyed my health. In fact I don’t understand why she follows my steps with this kind of hatred while I am not guilty.

September 17

Once again that neighbor who insulted me without any guilt, who screamed at me and swore horribly three times a few weeks ago, (on August 21, August 22 and September 3) like I already explained earlier, she appeared on my way. And I, driven by my instinct of forgiveness and respect for human beings, I said hello to her. I was also under the effect of psychiatric drugs, and I had woke up only a few minutes ago. Now I am sorry, it was a mistake to salute her. If she will ever cross my way again, I won’t say hello to her again, Never. I am almost certain that she cannot understand my good feelings towards others, like I always was. Some people say that because I was always so good towards others, common people think that I am insane. So I have to commit suicide, lacking human rights completely. I will die soon but I don’t understand why you, all of you, are killing me after 30 years of martyrdom without any mistake. I pray again the whole world for justice, I prayed in vain God and my beloved country. They invented that I am insane and by this they are killing me. I think I deserve to be alive, I was a valuable individual even though my poems are not good.

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All Quiet on Volga River

Perhaps she was a fantast. She lived on the second floor and a half. The garbage and the elevator were half a floor above or below. Anyway it wasn’t a room of secrets where you can get taking the train on platform nine and three quarters, as in a famous story with little and big wizards. The old cinema hall on the ground floor had been abolished a long time ago. The space had been refurbished and turned into a club for party, music and dance.

Miss moved there as a lodger in a year when the club had gone bankrupt. It was quiet. Her rent was payed by a benevolent gentleman with whom she had no connection. Money was her main lack, the tree of her life hardly ever had such leaves. She was that kind of fat and quiet spinster, keeping her roots visible and close to the soil line. Miss Martha did not forget a thing, she always took into account every detail and believed that things can only go for the better, but without her dreaming, without her trying to imagine something. Therefore she was a fantast. She didn’t enter the world of witchcraft and was not accepted in that peaceful or idyllic world of teachers and educators. In fact so she thought, that that world was like a little prairie house where every useful object is in place and where’s a reading corner with an armchair and tea with brown sugar on a table. She only believed that the world was what she had seen once in childhood, and remembered that some people said about her father that he was like a big child. Alone, in the peace of her thoughts, she was like an asylum with too much love for children and helpless elderly; she felt like a mother and certainly didn’t understand that it was her now that big child.

At her new job located near her apartment, the children called her ma’am. Sometimes Mrs. Martha. She suppressed the pain that at her age that all the teachers can only be ladies. In fact she was never thinking about this. She tried to forget that some girls told her in the recess times that she needed a child of her own to sway in her arms and to care about. She didn’t know what to answer. Always finding something to work from morning till night in the house, she thought only about theses, quizzes, examinations or interesting lesson projects. Se hoped to succeed like this, again without a hint of fantasy. She consumed a part of her small salary on paper and printer ink for teaching material that seemed necessary for school hours, or that were strongly requested by her chiefs or inspectors. She often went to mandatory meetings and heard a long memorial of names and possible future school activities, as the long list read in church services. Once the meeting was held at a boarding school for theology students, where the chef generously offered lent snacks, which had a great success among participating teachers. She went round the feast table pinching something here and there, then leaving the meeting before its end. Sometimes she attended training courses and find with bewilderment, a constant feeling in her life, that other lady teachers were playing like children with different more interesting learning materials, that they danced a dance of capitals and markets where prices were shout aloud, experiencing the law of demand and supply. She got out a little sad in the hall room between lessons, and lit mechanically a cigarette, a habit that usually helped her forget that the world is more fantastic than anything she had seen before.

For instance, she did not understand the point of mandatory service over school hours, when some teachers sat all day in a small, clean and quiet room on the top floor and had a student as a kind of camp aide, effectively wasting their time. She opened the register on the table and discovered that other teachers had more fantasy and joked about the hours spent in that guardian tower. Martha did not understand why she had become Head of Department or why they were asking her many cards and projects and endless tables that she could not have filled from her empty fantasy world. What on earth was she supposed to write there, when she counted only what he saw in front of her and did not guess at all what was hidden behind any wall?

In fact she did not understand many things. A colleague, much more popular among students, tried to open her eyes and said : “You are a materialist. Do you really think that this table in the teachers’ room is simply just a table ? Do you really think it exists as such here and now ?” She answered simply yes. She didn’t like Hegelian dialectics or sophistry of any kind. She was not an attractive person in conversations. The other lady teachers talked about the glass bead game and usually about the books she hadn’t read. She felt sad and alone, but still she did not lose hope. She knew, even before becoming big child, that she always was an outsider regarding society models. She vaguely remembered a well known Romanian poem about some kind of Miss beyond fashions and time. All that she planned was in vain. The fact that logic is not enough in life was a lesson that she couldn’t understand. First she had success, then everything tumbled down. Exactly like when as a child she was among the first at a long run test for sport class, but among the last the second time, when the other girls understood how to run. Once, when her teacher colleagues were smoking in the teachers’ room (smoking was forbidden to students), one of them joked that there are too many witches for one pot, that single ashtray on the table. Martha did not fit such kind of humor, she really did not understand others’ jokes and for a moment she thought maybe it was her the cauldron, but then she quickly shook off the ashes, and the world seemed the same again. She also did not quite understand why they stayed so long in the schoolyard, both teachers and students, after a mere fire simulation, but probably with true firemen, climbing up and watering the roof and the walls in plenty.

Then came the conflict with one of her student groups. She had categorically refused to be a form master, since she already had too many papers to administer. She remained only a teacher, but only as an honorific title. The reality was that in the classroom, some of those students so cute, that she loved too much with her heart too round, did not even listen to her. So she saw, so she thought. Young people, 16-17 years old (actually she thought they were not really children, like other teachers called them) made loud noise over her weak voice and when she turned to the blackboard to write down and explain some formula, a rain of large and small paper balls or even chalk pieces aimed to her outfit pretty faultless otherwise. After several such unsuccessful small wars she complained to other teachers, who were also form master teachers, and they told her with a peaceful tone that she has the bread and the knife and she should understand this. Martha then tried desperately to admonish her students, to lower their grades if they were deserved of course, but it was worse. A school psychologist intervened and children wrote on anonymous notes complaints that their teacher … one note (she knew from whom) said that she looks like a well-intentioned person, but … , someone else (she did not know who) said she was too fat and the great majority of students wrote that she does not know how or she cannot communicate, have a dialogue with them. Martha was sad, this was the most unacceptable thing for her, because everything she ever tried was the dialogue. Another lesson she did not understand was that the dialogue does not appear when someone wants it.

After two years of apprenticeship, Martha left that job for various reasons. She remained alone with a rent to pay, like a broken cuckoo clock. That benevolent gentleman did not help her anymore and her money from an unexpected inheritance dwindled. Moreover, that nightclub was re-established with fresh horsepower and her nights became real nightmares. What I wrote here are excerpts from her diary that got by chance into my bag. It was an interesting reading for me, being myself another kind of Martha. On the third floor and a half, above her apartment, appeared a law firm with young ladies treading the floor on high heels even in weekends and off-hours. After Martha managed to move to another part of the town, I cannot say what happened there because her diary ends there with the words: “it remains to be seen”. It seems that she moved somewhere near the old Fire Tower where she would eventually visit the firemen museum, fantastic like any other museum .

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The Black Chest of Drawers

Many ordinary people undergo dark moments in their lives and can never get the privilege to relate them to others, in order to feel less burden or to let a clean sun ray slither and clean the dirty floor on which they walk barefoot.

I am an ordinary person and, like many others, I had my somber moments when only the awaken light of conscience and my purest thought could bring me some relief. Because if the man gets asleep, demons dance close to the purest flowers. And some places predispose the human being to dark dreams, places created as if to give birth to illusions and deformities. One of those places was the house I rented in the years 2003-2006.

My parents decided, after long talks, to pay me the rent in a two-room flat in Bucharest, somewhere on a noisy and dusty boulevard, quite central. Those times they payed 170 euros, a too high and unjustified price for the misery I had to endure there. I lived alone, but in a crowded place, because the kitchen was small, with a minuscule and old fridge, the cooking machine the same, surrounded by a small table and a cupboard with old porcelain cups, all of them extremely insalubrious, like the rest of the apartment. The pantry was unworkable, full of old and dirty stuff. The closet room filled with a helter skelter of old books.

The landlady was a real termagant, she did not allow any accommodation in that flat, for example she refused to get rid of the moth-stricken bed mattress, although it was impossible to fight those moths. She had her theory that those mites come from the neighbors. The windowpanes were not tightly clasped so they allowed cold and dust to enter the room at God’s will. After a while I shut them up with some sort of adhesive band. The balcony did not allow me to dry my laundry like a normal housewife, being occupied with old iron pieces, which the proprietors told me they couldn’t get rid off. The bathroom did not have a laundry machine and at first I had to pay someone to get rid of some sort of boulders blocking the sewerage system. My only luck was that in the living room there was a quite comfortable and newer couch, on which I rested my bones at night after each day of work. There was also a very small, but good TV set. A neighbor told me that before me there were lodged some prostitutes, a fact that puzzled me. Upstairs lived a cancer-stricken woman, that committed suicide, said my neighbor. After all it was a quite somber environment.

But the utmost of it all, what created the dark mystery of that apartment was the furniture in the living room. There I brought my cage with two budgies but the female died soon afterwards. The furniture was old and repulsive. Heavy and black, the sideboard and the table from different sets. I glued on that sideboard some of my watercolors and the black paint with some wood shriveled and got stuck onto them.This inspired me something rotten and toxic. I used to call that furniture “the black chest of drawers” after the title of a novel. It was almost empty, apart from some silvered objects, resembling church sacred cups, which fact accentuated the lugubrious impression of that apartment. But the greatest mystery of all was the heavy and grey concrete pedestal or socle covered by a kind of thick lace, reminding me of the screenplay of Arsenic and Old Lace. The landlord told me he never understood how they brought that object inside, because it was so heavy that he could not move it. Maybe raised with a crane, he said.

The tragic event happened in my second year there. In the rental documentation is was written that the lodger doesn’t have the right to expropriate or change something from those rooms. Yet I couldn’t bare anymore that dirt. I called and payed a woman to clean my house, but the same neighbor told her not to insist too much and she cleaned very superficially. And took my money. So I decided to do it myself, cleaning everything in detail, except for those moths which I could not get rid off,regardless of how much toxic spray I used. When it is bad luck, no one can avoid that … falling into the pit. I cleaned the walls, the fridge, the cooking machine, I rubbed the dirty floor and even the broken ceiling lamp. I got to the socle and my worst idea was to wash even that lace. I soaked it in a basin with some detergent and, to my disgust and surprise, it began to unwind more and more and from it flew out, because it had an interior pocket which I did not see at first glance, a sort of reddish-yellowish substance with small particles in it as if it were a dead human’s cinders or a sort of poison. I got very scared but it was nothing more to be done…I was afraid to threw it away in the garbage. It was very frail and I put it to dry on the balcony, to avoid that horrible smell inside. I thought that maybe those were really human remains because a socle suggests something sepulchral and because the same neighbor,after a day, came to me with tears in her eyes telling that in the old days, in that apartment dwelt a very good lady,may God rest her soul wherever she might be now. Then I got into the hospital because I felt ill and I had a red eruption on my hands and on my face. I cut with the scissors a small piece of that lace, just in case someone would need it for analysis and I put the rest in the pantry.I still have it.

But who could be interested in the memories of an ordinary woman?

Meanwhile my own father passed away and the termagant raised the rent to the amount of 300 euros, diminishing my financial inherited resources, because for one more year I could not find another apartment for sale. Today I sit in my own two room flat and I look in my apartment at my green plants that survived since those times. Even the budgie lived well another 5 years or so. It is maybe my only dark and detective-like story in my past but those demons are no more alive. Because I simply don’t ask any more questions which cannot be answered…

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Everything that lives kills. Even if just once. And if I were to choose my favorite being from this whole bunch of assassins, that would be a tree…

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