Earlier this year, I already wrote about my neighbours, and since then, the setting has changed a little:
Nesla and Murat have a baby, and I went to visit my youngest neighbour (born on the 15th of this month) the other day.
Little Dalia had to be brought into this world four weeks early by Cesarean cut, as her mum is physically handicapped with a displaced hip and so could not give birth naturally. She already has a full head of black hair and relatively large hands and feet, which makes Nesla think she'll grow rather tall, as opposed to herself (she reaches about chest-high to me).
I brought a small present for the young mother, thinking that everyone was most likely going to give her things for the baby, but who was thinking of HER? After all, it was she who'd had a rather difficult pregnancy and now, because she is breast-feeding, can not take her usual pain medication for the hip and so is not really at her best at the moment. She was so pleased and said that I was so far the only one who had thought of her, just like I had suspected. Since she looked (and probably was!) rather tired, I only stayed maybe 15 minutes.
So far, I have not heard Dalia crying, not once.
I wish the same was true about the downstairs neighbours next door, a family of five.
They have never been the quietest of people, but except for some summer nights when they sit out on their patio and talk and laugh until 2.00 am and I have to use earplugs if I want some sleep, they do not disturb me. On the contrary, I mostly know them as friendly and kind people; again, especially in connection with my husband's sudden death last year.
Last night was very different, though.
I went to sleep just before 11 pm, and woke up at around 2.30 am from shouting and door-slamming and people stomping about. It didn't take me long to identify the source of all that racket, as the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Downstairs-Neighbours are very characteristical (hers is deep and raucous, a typical chainsmoker's voice, while his tends to have a high pitch).
It sounded as if the entire family was involved in a MASSIVE shouting match. I couldn't (to my relief) make out any noises indicating physical violence, but the shouting and crying (of the daughter) was very upsetting.
As I do not speak Turkish, I didn't understand a word - I didn't need or want to, either, because what the fight was about is none of my business.
If I had their phone number, I would have rung, but as I don't have it and they are not listed in the directory, I thought about going over and politely ask them to keep the noise level down.
The temperature was about -2 Celsius, it was almost 3.00 in the morning, but I felt I couldn't listen to this any longer.
So I put on my dressing gown, a pair of thick woolly socks and my wellies, went downstairs, out of the door and stood in front of next door's entrance.
I admit I was scared - what if I had misinterpreted the situation, and Mr. Downstairs was running amok with a knife? Or someone would punch me in the face for intruding on them? Or Mrs. Downstairs would snarl at me, telling me to mind my own business, making me her neighbourly enemy?
While I was mustering up more courage, the argument died down. The kitchen window next to where I stood was open a little, and I could clearly hear that things were going quieter.
The coward in me felt relief; now I wouldn't have to ring and ask for silence at this time of the night.
So all I did was going back upstairs to my own flat, remove my wellies and socks and go back to bed. Of course, there was a lot of adrenalin in my blood, and it took me a long time to fall asleep again, but there really was silence now.
When I finally did manage to get back to sleep, I had a rather nice dream.
I was in a palace-like house that belonged to some relative of mine (no idea who the relative was supposed to be), invited for a family gathering, a kind of ball with people in beautiful costumes. I met a very charming English gentleman on the stairs leading up to the ballroom, and we were just trying to figure out how (if at all) the two of us were related, when my cat decided it was time for me to get up and give her breakfast, and, jumping on the bed, woke me.
I still wonder whether I am related to the charming gentleman...