Update: Mrs. E passed away over the weekend of February 25th 2012.
Sometimes I get to thinking about how long I’ve lived in this apartment building, I didn’t see this as a place that I‘d be stopping over in for long. I have lived in two different suites but it isn’t like that changed the day to day happenings of the residence.
When I moved in here, I was only 22 and already had so much furniture the place almost didn’t fit it all. The landlady was old and creepy, already in her 70s. She’s still alive, but barely, she isn’t the landlady anymore and she needed to be put in a home ages ago but she wasn’t, she still lives next door. She falls a lot, I helped get keys one day when she was trapped in her place. I thought she was going to pass over Christmas; they had to bust her door down to rush her to the hospital. When I got back from Bali at the end of last month, she was still going.
We’ve had the strangest relationship, myself and Mrs. E. We went from despising each other to the point that I used to write hilarious blog posts about her, to realizing that I’m actually closer to this woman than I have ever been [was] to any of my grandmothers. I see how sad that is; it isn’t like we’re all Tuesdays with Morrie close, but when you consider the fact that I have lived in this building for twelve years, longer than I have lived anywhere in my entire life and have spent little time with any of my family outside of my parents, to me, it makes perfect sense.
I can hear loud, strange sounds and coughing coming from her place, nights are the worst, listening to someone slowly dying. I don’t know what normal numbers would be but a number of residents have died since I’ve lived in here including one Gus Greeper and another of them being Mrs. E’s husband. He used to smoke out near the hallway, tucked away in the stairwell, where the smoke would billow, it couldn’t escape properly and it would hang in the air and seep under my door. Many tenants tried to have it stopped over the years but you just didn’t mess with Mrs. E when she was landlady, oddly you still don’t mess with her and she hasn’t been the landlady for a couple of years. Sometimes the smell of cigarette smoke will wake me up out of a dead sleep and I will swear it’s his ghost. Sure, my bed is directly under the window but I smell it when I’m awake in other parts of the apartment at random times as well.
This is a woman who came into my locked apartment when I was literally naked from the waist up, uninvited, and WOULD NOT LEAVE and now I’m SAD she’s dying. I would say that her NOT having keys to the suites anymore with her retirement has strengthened our relationship. I don’t think I will ever understand the majority of her behaviour but the life progression that she has seen me make from 22 to almost 35, well shit, I’ve gone from cops at my door to so calm it can be creepy. Let’s not fool ourselves of course I still have a temper. I remember one day years ago after we’d had a row, her muttering under her breath, “not a nice girl, not a nice girl.” That is a post for a different day, but even little things like that, when at the time she was just as evil, make me sit back and actually take a moment to be proud of myself.
I’m not even the longest standing occupant, there is a dude down the hall who lives next door to my old suite and I know for sure he has been in here longer than me, he gave me a book on farts one time, and my neighbours on the other side of the suite I’m in now out resident me as well; their bed hits my bedroom wall while they’re having sex. There might be one tenant on the first floor as well but I’m not 100% sure. A few people have come and gone that I’m still in contact with but for the most part, as with almost everything else in life, I keep to myself.
Of course I don’t know whether Mrs. E will die alone in her apartment or whether someone will put her in a home, where I suppose she could also die alone. There is no happy ending there. But I remember being upset in Bali that I might not get to say goodbye. I’ve gone through so much living in this building that my shrink doesn’t even think living in here is healthy for me and even though Adam and I outgrew this suite before we even became an Adam and I, I’ll always have devastatingly fond memories of my extended stay in The Mansion.
We just got a rent increase, it’s balls.