Rusty knife

Ineke Buijs

She lives in the porch next to mine, the sweet gray neighbor. She is almost always at home. And the parcel deliverer has now also noticed this. The parcels delivered in vain in the surrounding houses and porches have been delivered to her for some time. And collected.

I saw Mrs. V. shuffling through the glass of the porch door. "I have come to pick up a package again, Mrs. V." "Oh I'm going to see which one is yours. I have half a corridor full again.” "Oh dear, doesn't that bother you? These boxes in the hallway and all those people who come to the door?”
I was almost ashamed that I regularly order something and then I am not at home to receive it. "No, it is not. I actually like it, that run-up. I am alone.”

The coin did not actually fall until I was back in my own porch, in my own house. And it cut through my soul. With a rusty knife. Very au! It touched me. Not because I recognized it, but it got me thinking about my own social system. I dare admit that I can feel heartbreakingly lonely and alone for periods, even in company. That is not always understood, if you know a lot of people, have very nice friends and you move very easily among people. However, that does not say everything. For inimitable reasons I sometimes feel like there is some kind of frosted glass pane between me and the rest. I see everything happen, but I don't feel the connection. The contact is broken. I am "outside looking in". Only. I realized that in those moments I feel Mrs. V.

I bought stroopwafels, a few candles, nice tea, pretzels, chocolate, and put it in a box. I put a franking label on the box. I smiled and brought it to the postal agency. Two days later, the doorbell next to mine rang the bell. Mrs. V. took a box. She almost wanted to put it in the hallway, but was surprised to see her name on it. She shuffled in and opened the box. It contained a card. "Lovely neighbor. Finally you have opened the door for a package for yourself. I have sent it to you to thank you for hosting all my packages. And always kindly hand them out when I come to the door. If you like it, I'll come and have a cup of tea with you at the next package I'll pick you up. You already have the items at home :-). ”

Loneliness can be closer than you think. It is not a popular topic of conversation. It is not sexy. Often even taboo, especially when it is about you. Do you (also) dare to break the taboo? 

Ineke Buijs is a researcher / designer at ftrprf. She wrote this article in a personal capacity for the theme Social Cohesion

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