My name is Dora, and I have lived in this house for about two years, on the ground floor. The yard is mine. This is where I am raising my son. He just turned ten. He’s an intelligent kid who does all his homework right after school. I force it on him.
The neighbors know me. I always make sure to talk to them, the old and the young. I hang out with Kiki, who lives next door. Our children go to the same school and are of the same age, so they play together some afternoons. We exchange some tea or coffee in our kitchens and talk about our children. But we also comment on the neighborhood.
The neighborhood is not a quiet place. When there’s a fight in the household, the walls are thin to isolate the commotion. So, we hear some bitter arguments and know the problems of each family. Money, children, work, issues, we learn them all.
Involuntarily our ear hears everything. We do not seek it. We are young women with many obligations and a family and don’t find many entertainment opportunities.
The last annoyance is from her, who just moved on top of me. Young woman, alone, beautiful. I met her with a plastic coffee in her hand when she first came, walking past my yard. She seemed nice at first, maybe even a potential friend.
My expectations were dashed when she walked past me every time we met and gave me a very formal and cold greeting.
She does not share these typical expressions with the men she brings into her home. I hear her moans from her balcony, which is above me. Sighs and screams. Men’s voices are full of promise, any time of the day.
I have a child. I can’t let him listen to her. I have warned her with notes on her door, but she continues to ignore me. I’m a young woman too. I could make all the fuss she does. I have urges too. But I don’t. It’s been a long time since I met a man.
All this consumed me and enraged me.
Like a challenge from God, a coincidence, she walked past me one day, the scandalous young woman carrying a small garbage bag. The wind blew, and a lock of golden hair came near my feet, hers.
I picked it up, and the first thing I thought was to burn it. Instead, I hid it inside the book I was reading.
I have a book about them, a legacy of my gypsy great-grandmother. I went to the page I wanted and started reading the instructions. I collected wheat straws from an empty lot near the neighborhood and wove them together. I attached them with sticks from my son’s construction toy set. I tucked in the center her golden hair boho on top. I sewed it with an old rag I had and made a doll.
I performed the necessary ceremony to christen it, to enchant it. I filled it with hate speech and thumbtacks. I left it under her balcony, in a hidden pipe I could access. She will never find it.
It took a while to see my triumph. Her golden hair didn’t shine like it used to. The defiant look on her face faded. The men’s visits stopped. Instead of moans and sighs, the only noise I could hear was her cries.
Created by Diana Chemeris
Story in Greek link below: