It’s all relative

Writing this blog has shown me that there are several small stories that happen within everyone’s day that may be worth telling, but if we don’t write them down, we don’t remember them. So I digress…the townhouse building that I’m staying in has three apartments, one on each floor. I’m on the top floor. There is an old woman (I’m not sure how old though…old starts getting older, as I get older); maybe she is in her early seventies. She seems to be the eyes for the building. I wasn’t there more than a day when she popped out of her apartment to see who I was. I introduced myself to her, told her that I would be staying in the top floor apartment for the next several weeks while I was receiving radiation therapy at Mass General. She had a cast on her leg so I ask her about that…she had apparently tripped on the cobblestone street while coming home one day, and hurt her knee. She tells me she may need surgery, we chat a bit more, we seemed bonded in pain…gave us something to talk about. We exchange our “nice to meet yous”, and say good-bye. I felt that I had passed muster.

The weeks come and go, and we don’t see each other, or should I say I don’t see her…she may be peep-holing me. Then on this past Friday (14th treatment day), I return to the building and she pops out to say hello, but she definitely seems like a woman on a mission. I ask her how her knee is doing. She says she has four more weeks, meaning four more weeks in the cast. She asks me how I am, and I say I have four weeks…meaning I have four more weeks of radiation. She asks me, how my “bloods” are? This catches me by surprise, but maybe this is a topic of conversation between she and her old friends. I say, “My bloods are fine”. So, the conversation seems cordial, and the conversation seems over. But it’s not. She has a pressing matter.

She asks me if I’ve seen her newspaper? I reply, “No, I hadn’t”. I think again that that’s the end of our conversation, but it isn’t. She continues to tell me that her paper is usually delivered right outside the front door, and that for the past few days she has not received it. She is wondering who is taking it. Is she thinking I’m taking her paper? She tells me more. She tells me that she didn’t receive her Sunday paper, and that she thought perhaps that someone had picked it up and gone down to Starbucks on the corner with it; she decided to hobble down to the Starbucks in her cast to check out her theory. When she got there, there was a woman reading a paper, and she told me “she looked very guilty, but I couldn’t prove anything”. I’m not sure where this is going, but I feel the need to tell her “I’m not around on the weekends, I’m only in the building on the weekdays”. This new information is new information. “Oh”, she says, “I didn’t know that”. I have to tell her what I think she wants to ask (I’m going to be living here another four weeks, and don’t want this woman to either be thinking I’m taking her paper, or wasting her time on this theory). I say, “I left the apartment today at 8:15A and there was no paper outside on the stoop, and if you are wondering if maybe I may be taking your paper…I’m not, but I will look out for you to see if I see any guilty looking characters”. She seems satisfied. We say good-bye. I went upstairs to pack up and go home, she went back to spying on the building. As I climb the stairs I think, I’m worried about this tumor in my head, and she’s worried about her newspaper. On another day, at a different time perhaps I would be dwelling on who was stealing my paper…but this is not that time…and that’s life.