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Judith Rook  (with Alison Dere)

A Little Light Reflection

24.1.2017

From the Other Side

Unwittingly, innocently, and probably likely to be distressed should I be unkind enough to point out the fact, my young neighbour has become the spectre at my personal and private feast.   I am very glad indeed that he has a job as a junior accountant in a bank, because it takes him out of his house for the working week, and I have hours at a time when I can occupy my back yard without seeing his head rising above the fence, like a balloon with a smiley face.

But when he detects my presence around the flower beds, he pays me an al fresco visit, because he told me that his Nan said that he should take an interest in people.  I think she means young people of the other gender, but he has taken it into his mind to be interested in me.  He is unfailingly cheerful and sometimes comic; he looks at my garden and tells me that his weeds are better than mine, then giggles as he goes off, leaving me to it, as he says.

Sometimes he makes the early mornings hideous as he exercises on his back patio, singing along, enthusiastically and out-of-tunefully, with whatever popular song may be pouring into him through small black devices stuffed into his ears.  He solemnly persists in this completely unnecessary regime of exercise, for he is fit and healthy beyond belief.  He thinks that life is a wonderful adventure.  For my neighbour, grumpiness is an infinitesimal cloud on his horizon.

The other week, he became almost hysterical with excitement when he met one of the great financial gurus from television land, who visited his place of work to deliver a kindly and motivational pep-talk to the up and coming juniors.  I asked what colour tie did the pundit wear.  My neighbour didn’t even know if the visitor wore a tie at all.  What did he talk about?  “Macroeconomics,” breathed the young idiot, and I’d swear that, hidden behind the fence, his hands were clasped against his chest.

My neighbour doesn’t know anything.  When I told him about 1848, the year of revolutions, he looked at me in amazement.  The next day he called over the fence: “I told my Nan about you.  I said that you’re cool.”

What are you going to do?

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