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* “Angie, what is going on?”

– “Nothing,” Angie answered as if she was awaken from a distant reverie.

* “How have you been?”

– “I am ok. My work is fine. I have been a little bit busy lately.”

Angie didn’t know what else to say or probably she didn’t find anything else to say. She waited for her friend to say something but her friend at the other end of the line didn’t say anything either. She wanted to share things, to talk, to express herself, to tell people around her, how hard it was for her to get things done in the last couple of weeks. She wanted to tell them about her fears, about her hopes, about her problems and on the other hand, she wanted to tell them that the event she had been involved in was a great success. But she didn’t know where to start. Things were starting to get complicated. Distance, time and silence were becoming barriers between her and her… friends.

Angie smiled knowing deep down that her friend wouldn’t be able to see her smiling. She wanted to tell her friend about the stupid neighbor who has been harassing her lately, the one who seems to be observing her and watching every step she takes, but she didn’t know what to say. A voice in her head kept telling her to forget the whole thing, since it is not a big deal.  That same voice argued that she is “being paranoid” and that “she has been imagining things”  and that the whole thing “exists only in her mind”… One thing is for sure, Angie never liked that neighbor, who calls her “Sara”, she tried many times to tell him that her name is “Angie” but he constantly called her “Sara”, she always considered him weird. He had a habit of telling her stories and lies, and weirdly enough he only bumped into her when he wanted money.  A couple of days ago when she was about to open the door to go into her flat, she heard someone calling “Sara, Sara”, she didn’t want to answer, but he insisted, and before she got the chance to say hi, he started talking and elaborating some unbelievably long crooked story of how he made some maintenance work in their old building and how the landlord didn’t want to reimburse him. Angie didn’t buy any word he said. And when he asked her for money, she asked to see an invoice and to get a receipt. He didn’t have the invoice because he pretended that he had given it to the landlord or to Mr. David, the owner of a shop near the building and who also happens to have a small apartment in the building. She didn’t want him to elaborate any further because she knew that he would be building on moving sands and that by connecting the dots she would find out that he has been lying from the beginning. He went on for a while then asked her to write him a receipt, she refused, because he is the one taking the money and therefore he is the one who needs to provide a receipt. And for a while, she listened to him talking and lying and going on and on and on, then suddenly, as if she was moved by a secret hand, she heard herself telling him to stop lying and to go away, then she opened the door of her flat and went in.

A few seconds later, she was still under the shock. She actually did it. She told him to “F*C* O**” (without actually using the exact words). She couldn’t believe it. She actually did it. She stopped being “polite” and “calm” and “very nice” to become human… again.

When he knocked at her door a few minutes later to hand her a paper that he considered an official receipt, she hardly said anything else than “thank you”. He tried to ask her if she was angry, insisting why she would be angry at him, but she didn’t want to listen to him for any additional second. She simply closed the door and moved on.

Thank you for reading.

By Zeina Gabriel