There was a knock at the door. I opened it. A majestic, coloured lady was standing there, a large shawl upon her shoulders, a big grin and a neat bobbed hair cut – black with streaks of blonde. ‘Hello, are you my new neighbour?’, I said and held out my hand. ‘Yes, I am Ayo’. ‘Well it’s nice to meet you Ayo’.
She began: ‘ Where you from? You from Ireland? You were born there? I live here 10 years. I’m from The Congo. I have many many relations that live close to here’. ‘How lucky’ I said. ‘Oh yes, the flat is lovely. I love to just be at home’. I said I liked to go out. She asked me where my doctors’ was and then ‘The Job Centre’? I asked if she worked. ‘Oh no, no, no’. ‘Are you looking for work’, I said (conscious I sounded like they do at The Job Centre). She looked confused. ‘Do you work?’ she said by way of a reply. I said yes, that I did, in a shop. ‘Where, where is the shop – Oxford circus?’ ‘Em, no – yes, well close to there’. ‘Do you clean?’ No, I said. ‘ If you want I can clean for you’, she stated ‘But just two hours every day, that’s all – no more, ha ha ha’. I told her I had no need for a cleaner but would let her know if I heard of anyone looking.
She continued: ‘I pray sometimes a lot so you may hear’. ‘What, loudly?’ ‘Yes yes’ she said as she demonstrated a sort of shouting prayer. I looked at her incredulously, ‘What, like that?!’ ‘ Well no, maybe like this’, and she whispered more gently. ‘ I pray a lot – I am a Christian, and you? ‘Um, yes, I actually like to meditate most evenings and I usually go to bed at around 10.30pm; I mean sometimes I listen to music, or I’m out but generally speaking …’ ‘ Oh yes, me too, I have music, I mean, it’s the life, you have to enjoy the life’. I told her I liked to be out a lot. ‘Oh no, I like to be at home and talk with all my friends: It’s the life!!’ I told her about my ex neighbour who had the habits of a rent boy – in and out of his flat at all hours of the night. ‘He was black?’ She asked as she crossed her arms. ‘Why did he leave?’ I tried to squeeze past her towards my door. ‘It was so lovely to meet you.. I think I left something on…’ I muttered.
She persisted: ‘ Do you have a boyfriend?’ ‘Um…’ I tried to open the door and laughed, ‘Let’s talk about that some other time’. ‘I do, I have. I have boyfriend.’ ‘ Sometime my boyfriend come you must meet him..’ ‘Oh, yes’ I replied hurriedly, ‘That sounds lovely… see you later!’ She turned to open the main door and I returned to the sanctuary that is my home…. for now.
A Friday track to knock your socks off : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5T-FIFGfTo