Dear Downstairs Neighbor,
Hello again! We’ve talked a few times, but really only in passing and that one time I told you your music wasn’t too loud and that we actually enjoyed listening to it through the floor. Because we are awesome and every person in the world should want us as neighbors. Just saying. And then there was the second time we chatted when I handed over a perfect loaf of my freshly baked, still warm challah.
This last one was all Kamel’s idea. We couldn’t figure out what to do with all of this preservative-free bread. We are only two people after all, and I knew that it would go stale quickly sitting on my counter. Should we bring it to work as an offering of goodwill and noms? No! Kamel said we should march right down stairs and offer it to you. Because, as I stated before, you don’t have furniture but you can at least have bread!
So, even though I am always nervous about these types of interactions, we went downstairs and knocked on your door. You answered and I was awkwardly holding a my perfect challah, gingerly wrapped part-ways in foil so it doesn’t look like I had my mitts all over it (but I did, I touched that bread from tip to tip, my friend).
“So, I was baking bread, and we made two loaves, but we only need one,” I said. “We wanted to offer you the other.”
“Oh, cool,” you said. “What kind is it?”
“It’s Challah. It’s an egg bread.”
“Oh awesome, I love egg bagels, so that’s great. I’ll have it for breakfast,” you said. “Do you guys want to come in for a drink?”
It was late and on Sunday so I said no. Kamel said, “Another time for sure.” And we went back upstairs feeling very proud of ourselves for doing something scary and having a positive response. Just so you know, downstairs neighbor… approaching you and knocking on your door and giving you free food was hard. But we did it anyway because we want to be nice.
So, and this is where things get weird, you could imagine my surprise and great disappointment when yesterday morning I head out to the train and see my perfect beautiful challah on the floor of our hallway in front of my door. Sitting on the ground for what I can assume was all night. It had maximum 3 slices cut from one end and still had the foil haphazardly clinging to it.
Kamel and I both stopped breathing for a moment as we stared at the bread, on the ground, that we had given you 3 days before.
“Why?!” I said.
“I have no idea!” Kamel said. And then he told me to go, that I was going to miss my train.
I realize that this makes you a total weirdo and doesn’t reflect on my awesomeness at all – but the bread on the ground? It really hurt my feelings. Because I made that. I worried about it and I made it. And it turned out really well. And I offered it to you and you put it on the ground. If you don’t like it – you could have thrown it away. I wouldn’t have noticed.
I thought maybe we could be friends, but upon further reflection I don’t think that’s going to happen. If you had made me bread, even if it was gross and weird, I would have never given it back to you.
Because, really, dear neighbor…. WHO RETURNS BAKED GOODS?