my upstairs neighbour
“I’m so glad to have you around,” she says, just as I start to tell her I’m leaving again. “You spend more time away than at home,” she says accusingly, but still brings in my mail, lovingly sorting it into neat piles of ads, circulars and bills. Each time I return she climbs the stairs more slowly, softly, pausing to tell me how adorable my daughter is and how frightened she is to see her climb so high. She can’t eat, weighs just 39 kilos now, she says, the thinness of her voice slipping away. Each morning she asks me “Did I keep you awake last night?” Each morning I smile a no, not at all, I slept like a log. How unfair that her coughs torment her, alone.