Threaded Chapters

I will miss her sunshiny presence, but I am happy she will have a new beginning

Photo by L.A Co. on Unsplash

My neighbor is moving. It appears I say that phrase now more than I care to. Since the rent has increased in my apartment complex for many of us by $115.00 to $250.00 (depending on the type of unit you are leasing), the choice to leave is easier than the choice to stay. Some have found their new homes in cities right outside ours — shifting from one county to the next.

They are doing this, from the outside looking in, without fear — without a pressing feeling to remain planted where they are — without wondering what they will do in the next town.

She lives (lived) across the breezeway — directly from my unit on the third floor. She is soft-spoken, sweet, and very much a talker. She cannot remember Jernee’s name, and oddly enough, I have not been able to remember hers. But I have “Yes, ma’amed” and “No ma’amed” her for nearly five years and I do not want her to move.

And this is a dilemma of mine — fear of change — of adjusting to the differences that lie ahead. My therapist says, “You just have to run straight through it, Tre. It may not be as bad as you think it will be.” And I know she’s right — I know she has seen more than I have — I pay her for her expertise and the connection we have built over the last three years.

Back to my neighbor. I will miss her sunshiny presence, but I am happy she will have a new beginning. She is excited about the move — about the city where she will be living. She found a place for senior citizens that will cost her $275.00 less than what she was paying at our apartment complex.

And as she told me this a couple of weeks ago to prepare me for the move, I couldn’t help but say, “Look at God. He found a place for you that isn’t too far, and is also less expensive.”

She smiled at me and said, “And He will do the same for you, too.”

And while I believe her, I both want to leave this place and I don’t want to leave this place, and if I do, the mountains are calling me — they are calling me home to them.

Everyone is moving, the community will not be the same

This scares me — what keeps me inside most days and away from new people who do not exchange “Hellos” and “How are yous?” They are too busy walking briskly to the mailbox or shoving themselves into their cars to recognize one’s presence. They have some business to attend to, and you are not it — you’re a blip in their time zone, a speck to be brushed away at the right moment.

You could pass out in the middle of the street, and the one thing they would probably focus on as important is the color of your shoes or, even worse; the color of your skin.

The people in my building talk — we share our workdays with each other, our experiences. The people across from us and next to our building — it is the same. We have built up our community and look out for one another, and with all the new people moving in, I see less of this, and it hurts me — hurts me truly to my core.

I foresee it being more of a selfish thing, as they fill the vacant units to the brim with people simply looking for a place to stay and not a place in which to live. (Let that sink in for a moment.)

We are losing our elders. We are losing the single mothers who look forward to you wrangling their kids along for them. We are losing men willing to shovel your hatchback compact vehicle out of your parking space after an overnight snowfall.

And I am not settling well with this at all. But I guess I will have to, and soon.

She’s not gone just yet, but she will be

She tells me she is paying rent at her current place and the new place because her lease is not up until January. The catch is, if she did not jump on signing the lease with the senior citizens’ spot, she was going to lose her unit there. Her sons can help her these last two months — they will help her.

I say, as pleasantly as I can, “I understand that. You had to get to it while the getting was good.” She smiles and shakes her head in agreement. She then tells me, “So, I’ll be back. You’ll see me coming in and out — cleaning up — getting the place in order. I’m not gone just yet.”

And a small piece of my heart releases the strain it automatically pressed upon me.

I always wonder who my next neighbor will be when someone moves. Will they be kind? Will they be considerate? Will they understand we live in an apartment building and not their own home with a backyard and all their customized trimmings?

We live in threaded chapters, turning the pages of each other’s books

When the day comes that she says her last goodbye, I want to have a housewarming gift for her — something she will look upon and remember me and Jernee. I am having a hard time figuring out what that should be, but I know I will select the right thing at the right time.

We live in threaded chapters — connected by time and space and community. Some of us are more apt to pick up each other’s books and turn the pages and learn something about each person as we move forward.

And as I look up from my laptop, I see another moving truck back in. Two people exit and then pull up the truck’s door. The bed of the truck is empty.

I think to myself, “Who is moving now” and I close my blinds and shake my head.

And just like that, I have another book to read.

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

37 thoughts on “Threaded Chapters

  • I’m so sorry your neighbour is moving. Seems like rent everywhere is going up. I’m in Australia, and I pay $400 fortnight for government housing. The cost of living is on the rise, and it’s making it so hard just to afford basic essential bills and food.
    I have 6 people living in my house, 2 adults and 4 children aged 8 to 2, and my grocery bill per week is over $400. It just shocking.
    Though thanks for sharing xx

    Liked by 1 person

  • I don’t like change, either. It doesn’t matter how many quotes I read about how “the only constant is change,” it’s hard. So, I understand. Losing neighbors is challenging. It’s like grieving, repeatedly.

    Anywho, I do hope your new neighbor will be loving and personable 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve escaped from Facebook and Twitter and have begun to look for blogs that will fill my time with something more compelling than FB posts and Tweets, and this post—the 1st of yours I’ve read —has convinced me that your blog is one worthy of my limited time. Perhaps the hook has been that after a number of years in Brooklyn, my stepdaughter is an emigrant from the city due to multiple ramifications of Covid—she is someone who’s left the neighborhood! Ciao!

    Liked by 2 people

  • I’ve been lucky to have a sense of community and a neighbor who would help me shovel snow for many years, yet, since I moved, my new neighbors aren’t as friendly or don’t have the time or want to have the time to get to know you. It’s a shame. I love a sense of community. May a wonderful and sunny person moves in as your neighbor.

    Liked by 2 people

  • People are having to save money in any way they can and this often involves difficult choices such as downsizing. It’s true that many nowadays have no sense of community spirit or responsibility and do not even get to know the names of their neighbours. That can be very isolating, especially for the elderly, or single people. I hope your new neighbours turn out to be gems trE.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope they will be, too, Peter. As it stands, we will have four vacant units in my building when my neighbor is all moved out across the breezeway/hall.

      That’s the most that have been vacant at one time since I’ve been here.

      I walked my neighborhood this morning and saw two more families up the hill of our complex moving things into a moving truck. That’s life.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ouch. Goodness! I wish that wasn’t the case for you. I truly do. I don’t know how I’d make it in my neighborhood without good neighbors.


      • Thanks. I even tried to be neighbors with the woman in the apartment across mine. She is my age and has 2 kids, 1 of which is almost as old as my son. But she will only knock on my door when she needs something, and I always gladly help. She declines my invitation every time I invite her in. She refuses to enter my house and never invited me into hers. She refuses to ride the elevator with me. She barely says hi with a fake smile. Despite my social anxiety, I tried to strike up a conversation with her a couple of times. She had a 2-minute conversation with me 1 time. She never offered me her number, nor asked for mine. She doesn’t want to build rapport with me. She even avoids leaving the house at the same time as me, so she doesn’t have to offer to drive me because she has a car and I don’t, and our kids go to the same school! I walk my son to school everyday. She drove me once because we accidentally left the house at the same time so she offered and I accepted. Then she told me she will drive me everyday, and has avoided me altogether since.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hmm. I don’t want anything from my neighbors but their friendliness and respect for our neighborhood and apartment building.

        I am not friends with them; I’m cordial, understanding, and a listening ear in passing.

        I don’t expect much more than that from them. I think what you’re seeking is a friend and not a friendly neighbor, at least that is how your explanation reads.

        Either way, I hope you’re able to build a little more with your neighbors if you can; even if that’s simply a greeting in passing and an overall daily acknowledgement of one another.


Comments are closed.