And somewhat bemused.
But hey, he’s here, and we have already introduced ourselves.
Now what? And why am I this flustered? It is not as if this is the first time I meet someone new.
So, let’s start with his name. Peter huh. Far cry from Jim or Jake or Mack. Why did I think those were one of his names?
Amused, a small smile curled my lips. Lost in thought, I may be forgetting that Peter is still standing in my doorway, no doubt by now regretting his ever coming over to return my cat or even introducing himself. He must be wondering who this female is grinning emptily at him. Worse, he could be thinking that he is living next door to an asylum escapee.
I mean, I have never been accused of being insane before. A bit fly-away and unpredictable sometimes, but never insane. I prefer the word ‘eccentric’, anyway.
But hey, I will not apologize or explain myself. He came to me, not the other way around, even if he did return my Spock.
So I just grin at him, maybe deliberately sweetly by that point.
Keep him on his toes, see how he deals with it, I think.
“Err, what?” He asks warily. I notice he’s edging discreetly backward, see if I don’t.
“Oh, nothing.” I continue smiling at him..
Taking pity on him, I dial down the goof-button and continue blithely, “So, thank you for bringing Spock back. He’s always being a nuisance and getting into other people’s homes. I don’t worry though because everyone here’s pretty much used to him by now, so when they see him they just let him out. He’ll come back home eventually.”
I swear I give myself whiplash sometimes. Peter, bless him, just rolls with it.
He blinks a few times, gives himself a subtle shake (ha, he thought he is subtle), and says, “I see. So I guess I should have saved myself the trip over and just put him out my door huh?”
I start to say, “Like, seriously?” at Peter, but instead of looking inconvenient, he just has a small smile on his face.
A real smile, wow!
But okay, I don’t care how this situation in which we are suddenly talking comes about or that he had seemed like a rather serious fellow, but wowza, this man should smile more.
I mean, this little smile is different from the polite and friendly smile he spotted earlier. This smile is next level, a rather shy but secretive little thing on which I could write a whole chapter on! It draws the eyes, and he does indeed looked good, like a proper professor in his serious suits and the somewhat somber air about him.
A smile in a suit, that is art and a poem!
“Yes.” I smile back. “But I’m glad you decided to bring him over yourself. Gives us the chance to get to know each other. Neighbors, you know. You’re the only one in this whole building I have yet to meet or talk to.”
Peter looks rather embarrassed for a second.
He looks down at his feet, and clears his throat.
Oh, he is definitely embarrassed, I can’t help but find it sweet!
“I’m sorry if I give the impression that I am being unfriendly. I suppose, now that I think about it, I was being a rather terrible neighbor. It’s just that, work, you know. I’m hardly here since my work takes me places.” He trails off with a pensive look on his face.
Now I feel terrible for making him think that he is a bad neighbor.
Bad neighbor. Huh! That sounds like a great title for a book or a movie. I plan to write that! A great title sounded like a great place to start! But first things first, placating a sad-looking man at my door.
“Oh, no, really, I didn’t mean to imply that you are!” I quickly assure him. “I know that you’re busy out working….that is, I guessed you must be really busy with work to not pop out once in a while. No one here is saying anything bad about you either, I promise. I mean, we don’t gossip. That is, we just had questions. I mean, you’re this new neighbor, and we would like to get to know you. If that’s all right. It’s just fact that you’re not here long enough or often enough for us to get acquainted with you, that’s all.”
Well that is a long ramble, and rather confusing. Hopefully the poor man doesn’t think too badly of us, I wince internally.
I smile at him in what I hope is a reassuring and charming manner. But I probably come off rather manic, again.
I really should stop being so familiar when talking with strangers, even if they are neighbors who live next door to me for months now.
Dear me, now the poor man looks hopeful.
Truth be told, so am I, hopeful that I won’t scare him off.
“Well, if you’re sure.” He asks me with an expectant look. “And, are you always this open?” He tacks that last bit of question as if as an after-thought.
I roll my eyes at him. Don’t judge, I can’t help it, this is how I am! I let my guard down quickly when around someone I’m comfortable with, and let’s face it, Peter is a comfortable guy to talk to, even if we technically has just been properly introduced to each other. I suppose some people are just like that, easy to get along with.
“Well, first of all, mister neighbor…”
“Peter.” He interrupts helpfully.
“Peter,” I stress while squinting at him, “Way to go off topic there. Second, if by ‘open’ you mean ‘friendly, charming, nice’, then yes, this is pretty much me. Thirdly, you need to get to know everyone here!” I enthuse.
“What do you mean?” He looks inquiringly at me.
“What do you mean, what do I mean? To which part? Anyway, you know, you should get to know your neighbors. There’s only five other families here, so it’s not that hard.”
“Well, if you say so. I’ll do that later.” He edges.
Oh yes, he is definitely trying to escape there, whether from the daunting task of getting to introduce himself to other people or just trying to escape the forward, bold girl-neighbor here, I have no idea.
Me, forward? I beg your pardon! Friendly, nice… trying to help here, fella, work with me here!
What is his problem anyway? He can’t have been shy, grown man that he is. He looks pretty comfortable there standing in my doorway just now and smiling at me. Plus, he is doing so well just now talking to me, even with the few awkwardness and my foot-in-mouth moments.
Maybe he is just good at faking it?
Oh dear, maybe he is a fake?
I nip that thought in the bud.
No way. Always hope first, doubt last.
Maybe he is just not the social type? Friendly but quiet?
Hmmmm….I do that a lot, Hummmm-ing. I think too much.
But anyway, in for a penny in for a pound. I open the door, now I get to step out, with the reluctant neighbor, no less.
“Wait!” I order before he makes good his escape.
I quickly shut my door, not bothering to lock it.
There is no thief in this building I live in, my mind tells me; at least I hope. Nope, nothing worth stealing at my home. Have fun with stealing Spock though. Come to think of it, have fun trying to rob my home with Spock there.
Gleefully, I turn from my doorway and grab Peter’s hand.
Poor guy is still standing there with a perplexed and helpless look on his face. Probably already planning his funeral, poor man.
Man knows to listen, at least, my mind helpfully supplies. There is hope for him yet.
Neighbors, here we come, one new-old neighbor coming right up!
For previous part and other stories, go here https://myreadingpoet.com/category/fiction-and-short-stories/
Otherwise, if you want to upgrade your website then check out https://jetpack.com/?aff=16261