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Angry, enraged, frustrated, disappointed and sad, Angie walked out of her apartment and headed towards the street. She didn’t know where she was going. She was having one of those days. She came to realize lately that she keeps having “those days” in this country. When she was abroad, she was calm, very calm. When she returned a few weeks ago, the level of stress and of adrenaline in her blood kept getting higher and higher… She didn’t know how to get rid of this unnecessary stress as she found herself calling it…

She had been living in her apartment for almost 5 years. She moved to that place because it was only a few blocks away from BUH (the Beautiful University of Heaven or Hell, depending on your perception), where she used to work. The place was sad, the building was old. The building entrance was one of those frustrating things she longed to change, amend, paint, and even… rebuild.

Angie lived on the first floor. She had the sweetest neighbors ever on that same floor. They were rarely around, but she liked their presence. They used to smile a lot. But she also had the nastiest neighbors ever on the second and third floor. Luckily the building had only three floors. Would you imagine how Angie’s life would have been with more nasty neighbors on more floors?

On the second floor, when Angie moved in, was an old woman in her mid-seventies. Angie didn’t know her much. One day, there was noise and people in the building, and the next day, and the day after, and after, Angie never saw or felt the presence of the old woman again. She must have passed away, Angie thought, or her family must have taken her to a rest house…

When the old woman left, her family moved in. That family had another house somewhere else, but it owned a shop next door. Angie didn’t interact much with her neighbors. In fact, she didn’t see them a lot because she was mostly between her work at BUH and her gym… But she came to know the family on the second floor, when a few years ago, she thought doing a favor to the residents of the building by closing the main entrance door,  placing a lock on the door, and giving each resident a key. She didn’t get to enjoy her work, because very shortly afterwards, the lock was broken. She replaced it a few times before giving up permanently on the situation. Meanwhile, shortly after placing the lock on the door, she received, one evening, an angry phone call from her mean neighbor scolding her for what she did. The woman assured her that she had already put a lock and paid money for it. She scolded her for taking this initiative and changing the lock. The episode was very tiring for Angie who didn’t know what to say or what to do. I think she let the woman scream for some time without being able to scream back, fight back, answer back, or even expose her own point of view… Angie took it all in, carried it on her back, and dragged it with her for a few years. Is she still carrying that nonsense load of stress?

On the third floor, resided, long before Angie occupied the small flat on the first floor, a nasty man and his brother. The brother was very polite and very nice. The nasty man was nasty, mean, impolite, stupid, ignorant, superficial and vulgar. She first interacted with him very shortly after she moved in a few years ago. He seemed ok, but she had a gut feeling  urging her to avoid him, stay away from him and ignore him… At the first few days of her stay, he proposed to give her access to the dish for 10$  a month, she agreed, not knowing any better. He used to knock on her door and ask her to send on his behalf messages to his girlfriends. She used to help him, not knowing any better. When she sometimes tried to inquire about the meaning of a certain word, he would make her feel as if her questions were useless, stupid and unnecessary…

Things remained normal, until one night he knocked at her door urging her to open the door because he wanted to check the water level from her apartment. He pretended that the generator for the water basin was on her window. She refused to open. It was late, she had been sleeping and she was tired. He got extremely angry at her. The next day, she called him and made it very clear to him that he can’t by any means knock at her door after 7pm. She was angry, she was nasty and she made it very clear that she wouldn’t allow any similar behavior.

Meanwhile, the building entrance was constantly dirty, filled with papers and dirt that people would throw away… There were cigarette buds on the stairs and in the corners. And sometimes, people would use the entrance as a toilet.  She hardly invited any of her friends over, because she always feared the entrance would be dirty, or that her friends would make nasty remarks about the whole place…

(to be continued)

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