Diana was funny on my return last week with her benefit as if she suspected me of something or that I’d given offence. She thanked me and said she was shutting the door. That night her door was open and as I was binning rubbish she came out to ask who was there. “It’s me.” Again she was cool and shutting the door, so I remarked she’d been funny that morning and was being so again. She said she’d thanked me, denying she was being funny. This quickly degenerated into a shouted rant, that I could speak to Bob and Tina then, that made no sense since I’m speaking to neither. “Bugger off,” I said. The door was slammed.
She apologised but without explaining what was behind her reservations about me.
She wanted me to collect her benefit and I took the card. I already had an authorising note that’s not looked at and her pin no.
She also wanted me to post a parcel to her niece. I said I’d collect it when I came down. I wasn’t yet dressed. She buzzed again, saying she wanted to go out for cigarettes, and starting to accuse me of …determining? or something against her. I cut that short: all right, I’d collect the parcel then and went down in gown to do so. I went in and took it. Though she could see I wasn’t dressed, she accused me of being in a conspiracy against her. “You just like shouting,” I said. She said it was all about me, me, me, when she had diabetes. With that reference back to her, I pointed out it was always about “you, you, you!” She called me a cunt and slammed the door.
She buzzed again. “Forget it, Diana,” I replaced the entry phone. She buzzed insistently. She wanted her card back. I left the phone off the hook. Dangling, it snarled she wanted her parcel back too.
I collected her benefit and posted the parcel, returning money, receipts and card in the plastic bag the post office provided.
A fortnight passed. Diana buzzed me to say she’d been very ill and to thank me for getting her benefit and posting the parcel. Twice she said she didn’t want anything. I was waiting for the apology which didn’t come. “I want -” the entryphone went dead on her.
Weeks passed. She buzzed. She wanted to explain. I went down in my silk underpants and with keys. It was cold. She couldn’t remember being abusive. “For all the years of your insanity, you hadn’t abused me.” She laughed. Later I came upon her outside the tobacconist’s which was shut so she couldn’t put more money on her electricity key. I did a spot of shopping for her and escorted her back home where I couldn’t ignite the oven for heat. She said she hadn’t been being funny that day. She’d £5.15 on her meter. “There’s nothing I can do,” I said. “Shut the windows. Burn some furniture.”
Maybe I’d let her off too easily. I came back with her benefit and groceries, shouting in, “Diana!” to which there was no reply and I was putting bags down when she came through the inside door in a bad mood, declaring her money had been stolen. She’d lost a purse with £50 in it, she’d said and I that no thief would take the purse as well as the money. She was imputing the alleged theft to Adrian Glover as usual. “Are you going to listen to me?” No I was not.
Late that night I was putting out rubbish, only to find her unexpectedly sitting out eating. “It’s only me,” I said. While I was binning she was addressing me without moving from her chair or projecting so I couldn’t hear what she was saying but she was questioning my being there at that time of night. “I’m recycling.” She said, “Fuck off, you cunt.” “Fuck off yourself, you cunt,” I retorted though the reciprocated abuse was of no satisfaction to me and I was failing to become angry. “You’re ungrateful,” I said, “and ungracious. Get somebody else to help you,” and I bore down on her, not to be fucking off as commanded by her, who flinched and said something about my hitting her again. “Why would I hit you? I could blow you over.” From the balcony above, I added, “You don’t believe that crap you spout yourself.”
She was there in her chair when I went out to recycle on going out. “John,” she said. “Don’t John me.” “Can I speak to you?” “Nope.” “I was off my tablets, for what it’s worth.” Yeah, to be able to tell people to fuck off, you cunts, with excuse.