The outside air calms my cranky four month old daughter, so I decided to take her to get the mail. There was a letter at my doorstep already waiting for me. I should explain the architecture of my second story apartment. There are two doors right next to each other. Probably at one point there was a wall between our kitchen and living room, but that wall has long been stricken, making one of the doors redundant. And it was in front of the door we never use, the one that has our apartment number on it, where there laid an envelope that read, “Dear Neighbor” in handwriting.
But before I picked it up. I noticed there was a massive smear of shit on the envelope. Upon further investigation with the ants crawling all over the envelope, it was apparent it was not shit, but rather cat food or dog food all over the envelope and our doorstep. My daughter started crying, so I put her back down into her play pen/prison and looked for a plastic bag to clean up the mess.
As she cried my mind raced over what could be in that envelope and which one of our jerk neighbors left such a mess. Was it next door who had had enough of Simone’s 4 am crying? Perhaps it was downstairs who grew tired of my heavy steps as I try to walk her back to sleep. Maybe it was Merlin, the bum who sleeps in our back alley. Merlin is strangely territorial of the garbage dumpster and might not like us filling it with poopy diapers, adding to my suspicion he is also always feeding the alley cats.
I was about to call the landlady to complain about the mean spirited neighbors who desecrated our front door, but I decided I should see what they had to say first. I ripped open the envelope.
“Dear neighbor” said a typed letter. “I would like to invite you to our church.” Enclosed were colored brochures of people worshiping.
I picked up my daughter and she calmed down as we walked out to get the mail. I noticed my neighbor had an envelope placed on her window sill that also read, “Dear Neighbor” as did apartment #7. Although there was no cat food on theirs. I chalked it up to karma or the Cat God punishing me for being the bad, untrusting neighbor.