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Flat: situation 1  [nederlands]

It was a long time ago, when a pregnant person without proper housing was still offered social housing, even if it was in a shabby, drab suburb. I was happy with the housing: it was a reasonably spacious house, with a balcony and a gallery at the back along an insignificant stretch of water. Anything better than the house that had been under construction for years, where I had lived for six months in the attic next to a leaking gas kit, with an aggressive youngster on the 1st floor and a negligent landlord who sometimes drunkenly peered through the louvered door of my bedroom.

Two months after I moved in, I had my child and the first night I was alone with my child in the house again, he was finally asleep for a while and my body and I were making an effort to recover from everything, the doorbell rang. I dragged myself to the intercom in the hallway, and spoke "Hello?" into the receiver. For a moment I seemed to hear a heavy breathing, then I heard someone on clogs walking away. As fast as I could (which was not fast) I went to the front window, to see who it could be, but then I realised, the clogs already went somewhere under the building. I lived on the first floor, above garages and storerooms.

I hoisted myself back into my rented hospital bed in the living room and wanted to go to sleep, but suddenly there was this music. That too seemed to be coming from somewhere below me. Was that the clogs person? Strange.

After that night, clogs person did not leave me alone. With some irregular regularity, my doorbell would ring, and I would hear the clogs person disappearing somewhere under my house. And then the music: Simple Minds, 'Don't You (Forget About Me)'. The same music every time.
Who was this, who was doing this? I hardly knew anyone in the flat, apart from a few close neighbours.

Once, after about two years, I found a note in my letterbox. The mailboxes were located floor by floor next to the elevator. I obviously had no view of that from my house, so I hadn't noticed anything conspicuous either. There was just suddenly a note. Handwritten, a man offering me to come and live with him, he said it could easily be done, and would be nice for his wife and child too. He expected me a few days later at a certain time, at a place somewhere a long way down the road, a rather uncanny place near a supermarket’s car park.
A friend of mine, Pako, whom I told, immediately offered to post there that evening around that time, as inconspicuously as possible. An hour after the stated time, he returned: no one seen.
We deduced that the man was watching me, and had planned to follow me to that spot. I found it quite scary.

I reported it to the housing association, who asked me what I thought they could do about it. So that didn't help either. I couldn't see any way of doing anything about it myself.

If I went by bike, I always took the lift and parked my bike on the gallery.
One day, I was about to enter the lift and a man I noticed in the building more often -he lived with his wife and daughter a few floors up- stepped into the lift with me. He had positioned himself in such a way that I - with my bicycle with me - was forced to stand towards him. It felt incredibly uncomfortable, especially because he was staring at me. I was staring at my feet, his feet, his... clogs.

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Also read: Flat: situation 2

DateTime: 2023 feb 4, 15:04 CET
Auteur: Mulder


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