Christmas came and went, it was quiet time the children received all their little gifts that we could afford and we enjoyed time as a family. By his time D was passing around more regular to the dismay of my two friends.
My neighbour remains a big part of this journey and the post relates to how I met her.
I was Five months pregnant with my son.
One could say my neighbour became the wind beneath my wings, my best friend was already the wind beneath my wings. They both held me up on either side. But what happens when these wings break, how do you continue to take flight.?.
How I met my neighbour. For the purpose of this blog no name will be given, but I will call her Matty.
One Day I was sitting in my home looking out the window when I noticed a white van pulled up outside. The door opened and a white male step outside followed by a black female. I assumed they were moving in next door, but as I was someone who kept myself to myself, I knew this wouldn’t affect me. After all I wouldn’t be going to her home. I sat back down and got on with my chores.
The couple indeed moved in next door as their car and van was parked outside regularly. I was nervous mainly because she was black, and at the time I associated black people with problems. Even though I was black myself, coincidently So far all the people I had met from that ethnic group had caused me problems. My experiences were therefore quite negative.
About a week later I heard a knock at my front door and peeping through the keyhole I noticed it was my neighbour, the woman. It took me some time to open the door. She was persistent, I was nervous.
“What did she want”. I thought.
In any case I opened the door to meet a short black woman on the large side, she was dressed in black trousers with her hand in her pocket and a wore a white shirt with pockets on one side. She had a gold chain around her neck, although she appeared friendly, my first reaction was, I’m scared of you. As she looked the type that didn’t take nonsense from anyone, a sort of bully. If you know the type, that when they approach you it’s usually for a fight. It shows how judgemental the human race can be.
“Hi”she said; “I’m your new neighbour and I’m hoping we can be friends”,
Her voice was deep and husky, she could be easily mistaken for a man. One thing I noted was that she had this amazing laugh that drew me in straightaway. That was how I met my neighbour. Before the month was up we were communicating regularly and I already felt I could trust her, not immediately though, as she was totally opposite to me. She was bubbly and outspoken she loved going to parties, drinking and smoking marijuana, Matty well she loved to have a good time, and she loved the male company. I was the quiet nervous type, anxiety sufferer. I liked the inside, theatre, cinema, listening to music and writing, and I loved my own company, after all I had been doing this all my life, I also loved reading, my neighbour wasn’t into books. She didn’t see education as the end of life but prefered people to be streetwise. What was strange she said when she first met me, she thought I was a Christian. Me a christian I would say don’t be so stupid, and we both would laugh.
My neighbour at the time had one daughter who was the same age as my second daughter, but this little girl was four years old and she lived with Mattys mother. Mattys mother lived around five miles away. My neighbour stated that she loved it that way as she and her mother was extremely close, and her mum had been looking after her grandaughter from she was born. A far cry from the situation that my children had been in with my mother, and still in at the time of meeting Matty. (Here) Her words made my stomach turn, as I wanted a relationship with my mummy In fact I wanted a different mummy, I wanted cousins and aunts for my children, but that was my life.
Matty lived with a caucasian guy, he seemed ok, he was the total opposite to her, he was more like me but it worked for them, they say opposites attract. A very hardworking man, who spoiled her with holidays and treats. I often wandered what it would be like to be with a man like that. Most days if he was not working at his double glazing firm, he was working on the home a jack of all trades, yep, and master of all. He definitely loved Matty.
As said above , when my neigbour first met me I was pregnant with my son, she fell pregnant two months later. One Day when I came back from work, D told me Matty had been over and she had lost the baby, I went straight over she was so sad and crying while telling me the baby was dead and it was still inside. I was so sad for her, I had never experienced that and the thought of a dead baby inside made me feel uneasy. Eventually the baby was delivered, I supported her as much as I could, the funeral came and went and gradually life moved on.
Although my neighbour was sad for that period she bounced back very quickly, but that was how she was, my neighbour.
When I had my son, I felt guilty but she loved my son, and she and her partner was always there for us. By the time I was expecting my daughter in 1988, she was pregnant again, we were due the same time so that was fun as we shared the pregnancy and we both eventually had healthy little girls two months apart, with mine being the eldest. Well this sealed our friendship and she made me godmother to her son when she had him two years later. My neighbour and I was inseparable and for me these were happy times. I had met all her family and my children were happy they had a new playmate when her daughter eventually came to live with her. They even started referring to each other as cousins. Matty filled the gap when my best friend was unavailable.
I was smiling again.
By now D and I sort of blended into family life, I was still far from happy but I was developing a little unit. My neighbour and her husband my five children and her three along with D and of course my best friend. I can do this I thought. For the times when I was unhappy with D, I now had two people in my life that could make it all seem better again, my neighbour who made everything into a joke and my level headed best friend. I had come to rely on them both now.
My neighbour and her family ….was a part of my life. Oneday I told her I had no family in this country, apart from the family in Brixton but although I was still very fond of them I didn’t see them as much. out of the blue Matty said. “I can be your sister” well that was such a surprise and of course a nice thing to say, I wanted that so much if only it could be. But she wasnt my sister, I gave her a hug and we just laughed. The reason why this touched me was because my neighbour was not a sentimental person at all. She was one of the hardest person I knew, I called her a man in disguised and she laughed grabbing her large breast and pointing out she was all woman. Trust me there were many laughs, she showed me how to have fun.
This was a problem for D as Matty was no pushover.
One Day out of jealousy, I was beaten up by D, and I made a mistake of telling her, Matty, she marched right over to my home even though I begged and pleaded with her not to, she refused saying, “no man must hit a woman” and that she didn’t care who’s fault it was. I couldn’t belive IT she was coming to face D, what on earth will happen to me.
To say I was worried was an understatement.
Matty was mad, “move out my way! ” she said, as she marched past me and up the stairs. I was running behind her pulling at her skirt. Matty was mad. “Oh lord”, I thought, she left me cowering downstairs as I heard her shout. “Hit me then, if you are a bad man” “your mother should have drowned you at birth, about you are hitting woman” she was speaking so loud the children were frightened. “Coward” She growled. I was absolutely horrified. But I felt so good inside, and I started to cry, by the time she came downstairs I was seated upright.
she said such obscene words as she marched down the stairs that are not necessary to repeat. She was mad…
“Matty!, please don’t leave,”I said.
“Stop the foolishness, stop crying” I told her I was crying because no one had stuck up for me before. “It’s ok”, she said as she closed the door.
After Matty left. I stayed right where I was, expecting world war.
Quietness…..only the sound of footsteps upstairs. I waited for the footsteps to start moving downstairs but it didn’t happen.
D never said another word. The next day Matty came over after D went to work. “He apologised” she said. That was surprising, and it went to show, I was a victim because D basically knew I had no one. Although still scared and although I knew she had my back, I would not be telling Matty another thing about D.
This post brings back memories of a time where I thought I finally belonged, a time of hope, my neighbour offered me protection, friendship, trust, my children were happy. Although I was still deeply unhappy on the inside. My two friends kept me together. This post is dedicated to her and although she has been mentioned before, I wanted my readers to have a picture about the bond we all shared, and how life can change….suddenly..
During those days I used to watch Bette Midler in Beaches, I fell in love with this song. I guess my imagination went wild because although the friendship was played out in a film. The reality was I had craved that all my life.
Well, as mentioned both these friends were my wind beneath my wings, but what happens when the wind is no longer there, how do your wings take flight??
Seventeen years later I found out…