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The New Neighbours: a short story based on a diary

The New Neighbours: a short story based on a diary

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Published by Tony
New neighbours move in but go out of their way to avoid the community. The diarist observes all the minor details but misses the big picture.
New neighbours move in but go out of their way to avoid the community. The diarist observes all the minor details but misses the big picture.

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Published by: Tony on Mar 28, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The New Neighbours: A Short Story based on a Diary
A new family has moved into number 13, the house opposite. There are twochildren, a boy of about thirteen and a girl of eleven. They look just verymuch like their father, but they are both rather underdeveloped and the boywalks with a pronounced limp. In contrast, their mother is extremely large andmatronly. Indeed, one of our neighbours wonders if she might be thechildren’s grandmother, but after much discussion we have decided that she istheir mother. We hope they will enjoy living here.Today, builders started working on an extension to the house opposite. Italready has three bedrooms and now it will have at least five; all with en-suitebathrooms. For no particular reason, we now call the family ‘the Extensions’.The children no longer scurry alone up the road to school, but have a fewfriends who call for them in the morning.A worrying sight this afternoon. The girl climbed up a builder’s ladder andstarted swinging from the unfinished rafters in the extension. We wondered if we should wander across and suggest that what she was doing could bedangerous. Just then, however, her father returned home from his work.‘You’re in for trouble now’, I thought, as he stepped out of the car. To mysurprise, he ran into the house and returned with a camera to record her antics.Perhaps, she is a budding gymnast? Anyway, he escorted her down the ladderand led her indoors. He looked rather sad.From my study, I am often amused by the appearance of one of the girl’sschool friends. She is quite noisy and makes her presence known as shecomes up the hill. Sometimes, she has blonde hair, another time it will be jetblack, and occasionally, it is as red as paint. The two girls lug enormous bagsof school books slung over their shoulders as they walk to school and Iwonder what effect these huge, overloaded bags will have on their spines.The extension is finally finished and the builders have made quite a good jobof matching the existing brickwork and roof tiles. Despite the house’sincreased value, the lawns are full of weeds, both driveways are crumbling,and the path leading to the front door has all but disappeared. Each week, twoPolish cleaners come to work inside the house and, afterwards, sit on thedoorstep enjoying a cigarette. Whilst waiting for the bus, which stops outsidethe house, I jokingly suggested that they could tidy up what is left of thegarden. They just laughed and said ‘No way!’ Today, they taught me to how togreet people in Polish:
The girl now has a boy friend who calls for her on the way to school. He isvery smartly dressed, has neatly cropped hair and carries a briefcase but neveroffers to help with her large sack of schoolbooks. I wonder how her originalfriend, the one with multi-coloured hair, feels about the new relationship.Friendships can be so fickle at that age.We can set our clocks by the Extensions. They are meticulous timekeepersand leave the house for work or school at ten minute intervals. Father is thefirst to return home and times his arrival to coincide with the return of hischildren from school. On Saturdays, he leaves the house promptly at teno’clock to drive down to a local supermarket to get the week’s shopping. Hiswife never accompanies him, neither do the children. If any of their friendscall by, they always leave ‘empty-handed’, for the children never leave thehouse. Even, during the school vacation, they remain at home the whole time.This probably account for their pale and pasty appearance; I sometimeswonder if they have rickets.The other day, I pushed a note through the Extension’s door warning themabout a gang of boys on bicycles who have been vandalising theneighborhood. They cycle up and down after dusk throwing apples throughthe windows of any house which appears to be occupied. The localcommunity police know who they are but say that they can’t do much aboutit. They have suggested that the folks living around here get together andremoves any spare fruit from the trees in the area. What a bunch of doughnuts! Never met one I didn’t want to kick. The Extensions must haveseen my note for they have switched off some of their lights.I have suddenly realised that the boy friend who calls each morning at number13 is actually the old girl friend trying out a whole new persona. She must bequite a character; she is certainly a master of disguise and had me fooled.I suppose that anyone reading this would say that I have an unhealthyfascination for the members of this family. I would prefer to say that I findthem absorbing for their behaviour is rather unusual. Take the parents, forinstance, they never venture further from the front door than their cars. I havenever seen them stand on the path or the road outside the house, nor have Iever seen them in the nearby town. They have no contact with any of theneighbours and any kind of eye contact with them is quite impossible. I’venever even heard them speak. If you ask me, I would say that they are notvery sociable and are engrossed in their own lives. Their stay here is probablya temporary one and they are reluctant to foster new relationships before

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