At about half past nine last night, I was just settling down to watch some TV: Ken Burns’ Hemingway was on, Serkan had gone home, and I was starting to look forward to bed. A few minutes before I had heard the familiar ‘ping’ of someone sending me a message over Facebook, but I’d chosen to ignore it until after the program. Suddenly, though, my doorbell rang – something very unusual at that time of night. I got up to answer it, and saw my neighbour Bilal in his wheelchair carrying a large tray of food. He said ‘Hi’ and asked if I wanted some.
I was slightly confused – I had had my dinner, and hadn’t asked for any help. I invited him in, still in two minds about quite what to do: this was obviously a generous gesture, but accepting that generosity would mean telling him how to set up my Neater Eater. Yet I needn’t have worried, as, following my instructions, he soon had me ready to eat, dishing out some delicious-looking chicken and cheese macaroni onto my dish. And then the obvious hit me: it was Eid, and my neighbours were probably celebrating. In that moment I wished I knew the appropriate expression of thanks.
Needless to say, the food was lovely. After I had finished it, I thanked my neighbour, Shazil, over Facebook, noticing that she had, of course, messaged me about an hour before to ask if I wanted any. It felt great to know I have neighbours like that, and now live in a lovely little community where everyone looks after everyone else.