Saturday, 9 October 2010

Flowers outside the door. "OK," I thought. "Nobody's home right now. Maybe they'll see them when they get in and pick them up."

This is not a picture of the door to the apartment next door to mine, but I saw flowers outside there a couple of weeks ago, and that's just what I thought. Then a few days ago the removalists came and emptied the apartment. Everything went into the truck, which was parked on the street next to the building's driveway. The guys shifting stuff out of the building were quick and efficient and clean and quiet. It all got taken away in a day. "Funny," I thought. "They only arrived a short while ago."

I had seen a gentleman, about ten years older than me, unpacking boxes one day during the cold season just ended. I had known the apartment was for sale, so it didn't surprise me much to see him there. Then, after the move, everything went quiet. I didn't spare a thought for the people (I thought it was the man and his wife) living there. Then I saw the flowers. They were plunked down in a black plastic pail just outside the apartment door, near the lift where I passed every day on errands or when I went to visit my mother, who lives just down the street from me in an apartment by herself.

I never gave the flowers another thought. Why would I? Although it seemed strange, as the building has a number of locked doors from the street to reach home. There's the gate on the street. Then there's the front door, which is also locked. The lift, which is inside the front door, also needs a key to access the floor of the apartment. So who had left the flowers there? And why flowers?

Apparently a woman moved into the apartment alone. Then she died. That explains the flowers. The other strange thing was the smell of musk, like a strong perfume sprayed after the removalists left. I wondered about it a little but assumed it was simply a gesture by the removalists, having completed their labour.

I never met the woman who lived next door to me.

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