Friday, 29 August 2008
A door closes
How quietly one closes a door is a sign of how selfless they are, how much respect they have for their fellow human beings.
That’s my opinion, anyway, and you can have it for free. It doesn’t take any time for someone to slow the closing door, to put out a hand and soften its click with the handle. It’s a sign of how social-minded a man is; does he think for a second about doing or not doing a thing because of simple concern for his neighbours?
But then, some of them are quite aware that the noise bothers their neighbours, and some of these just do it anyway. They just let the door swing, because it’s easy. It will take a few precious seconds away from their wonderful life, it will mean making a special effort for the benefit of another person. No, that just can’t be done by these people.
It was one such person of this variety whom I tried to drown in the stream near our home. He lived downstairs from me. I could hear his every movement around his apartment.
One morning as I heard him going out I slipped out of my front door and deftly followed him down the stairs. I allowed the front door to slam shut before I left the house.
He crossed the farmer’s field in order to easier reach the bus stop. That’s trespassing, but I broke the law too, in order to teach him a lesson.
As he rounded the field edge and came onto the gravel path at the waterside, I sprinted full pelt and dived over a bush, tackling him with all my weight and we both tumbled into the stream.
His shock made it easy for me to hold him under, but I let him come up for air twice. The third time when I let him come up for air he’d stopped struggling. I dragged him to the bank and explained why he’d made me so angry.
He lay there, impassively, listening. He seemed to take it all in, his eyes bulging and staring straight into mine, but he didn’t speak or nod or barely draw breath.
When the lecture was complete I stood up, shook myself and made my way back across the field to our small converted house on the edge of the village. I turned, halfway across the lush meadow and saw that he was still lying there on the bank, contemplating how ill he’d behaved.
When I got back, so hastily did I wish to go in and get dry, that I’m afraid to say I let the door slam behind me.
I listened intently that evening, but I never heard a peep out of my neighbour again. I think he must have learnt his lesson, this time.