This is a tale of a little brown princess, who has attained, perhaps, the age of two at this time. She happens to live next door to me, and her name is a mysterious, Noz.
One wintry Saturday, I was strolling in my neighborhood and I became aware of a gentleman and his little boy who were behind me. The little boy broke loose from his father’s hand and ran ahead. His father called out to him, a little bit aggravated that he was bursting ahead. He did not heed his father, for I soon heard the young fellow’s small steps padding lightly, just behind mine. He was at a jog, then, at my right side, and looked up at me, keeping pace with my stride. As I strode along, I was conscious of the man and boy who were now a few feet behind me. In a moment, I discerned that they were turning also onto the path in front of my abode, so I held the door open for them.
I headed up one set of stairs and could hear clunking of shoes on the parallel staircase on the other side. As I swung open the door and searched for my keys, the other staircase door opened and the good sir and his fleet-footed son presented themselves on the very same landing.
I rummaged in my bag for my keys – usually a time-consuming process – but instead of turning to my door and jabbing the key into the keyhole, to my surprise, I found myself putting my keys back into my purse and walking over with a smile and hand outstretched.
“Hello! How do you do? My name is____. And yours?”
By this point, the door adjacent to mine had swung open, and an exuberant pink-frocked brown princess launched into the hallway from behind her mother’s legs and landed, in front of me, at my knees.
I greeted this little one with a big smile and she silently looked up at me with tremendous, big eyes.
I was surprised, for to my best knowledge, this currently silent, doe-eyed, curly-topped, pink-frocked lass is also the owner of one Impressively Very Large and Functional Pair of Lungs. She customarily emits screams at such regular intervals, from the morning to the evening, such that one would imagine horrid things happening to her or else that she was throwing regal Princess Sized Tantrums every two breaths.
(One. Two. SCREAM. One. Two. SCREAM. To that effect.)
Yet, there she stood, mute, gazing up at me – somewhat strangely, adoringly.
I carried on a nice little conversation with the neighbors about my name, their names, and this and that language, and about having a nice rest of the weekend and I eventually backed towards my own door, found the keys, pushed them into the lock, and opened up the door and looked behind me for a moment to find that Noz had relocated to my door mat. There she was, still silent, looking up at me.
Her dad was laughing nervously, extending his hand and beckoning in varying tones, trying to get Noz to come in for lunch. She would not move, and stood as if glued to my door mat. At last, her father came and swooped her up and bid me a good day and we were both inside our own doors again.
That, friends, was my first encounter with princess Noz.
The second was not quite an encounter face-to-face, but it is also quite telling and worthy of note.
I was fixing my breakfast another Saturday in the kitchen and was simultaneously serenaded by high pitched screams punctuating the otherwise serene morning.
Bread in toaster. scream
Toaster door shut. Screammmmming!
Tic, toc, tic, toc. scrEAMMMM!
tea kettle, on. eeeeeaaaaaaghhhhh!
…and so on.
I sat down at the counter to eat, and I heard an exasperated mother yell:
“STOP CRYING ALREADY! WHY are you crying? WHY are you screaming? STOP! STOP!”
…And what, do you think, did little Noz say in response, between sobs?
That’s all the explanation needed. The Princess simply likes it.
Each morning at 8:50 am, I hear the school send-off routine in great detail, from the comfort of my own home.
[The dad prepares to take the fleet-footed boy to school.]
The boy says, “Bye!” And mom says, “Have a good day at school! I love you!”
But, what I also hear is, “Noz! Be nice! NozzZZZZZz…! Nice. Nicely. Do you want to say goodbye or not? Give him a kiss! Ok, bye bye!”
…I can only imagine what Noz must be doing. Oh, the temptations to mischief two year olds come up with! Terrible twos, anyone?
Once the weather hit 70s up here, playtime outside in the backyard became imminent. Just outside my door are parked a couple of sturdy strollers and a training bicycle or two. One has a horn on it, which Noz squeezes with sheer delight, as often as she would scream (also with delight?). There she would be, out there on the landing, squeezing the bulb of the horn and ringing her little bike bell until mom or dad would come out and they would all proceed into the elevator and eventually down the street, thus diminishing the unmistakeable Sounds of Noz .
They would either ride up and down the street, or come into the little yard that our kitchen looks upon. Of course, while in the wide–open space of the yard – approximately 40 feet by 10 feet – Noz occupied herself diligently with her favorite aforementioned exercise of her vocal cords. At such times, I could barely distinguish if she was next door still, or if she was running around on the lawn several floors below.
Most recently, I was taking a little nap in the afternoon to rest when I heard the unmistakable sounds of someone jangling the doorknob. My heart nearly stopped, for I have previously been on the receiving end of an unwelcome, suspicious visitor not only to my abode, but also to my bedroom, having broken in while I was present.
Once I had my wits recovered about me, I focused keenly on the sounds outside, and was relieved that there was not a stranger out there sawing away at the door, but it was just little Noz, jangling impatiently at my front door knob, which was just reachable at her present small stature, trying to come in. Probably to play. Or because she knows I bake cookies. Or, because she’s my friend and she misses me? Indeed, a new Sound of Noz to add.
Due to some of these little anecdotes, my fellow roommates have come to consider Noz as my “friend” or “twin.” I once considered that sometimes, I’d like to join in the screaming fest after a particularly terrible day. But, of course, while it is a terrifying noise to hear from a 2 year old, it is not only more terrifying from an adult but also highly inappropriate, so fear not, I refrain from acting upon such unhealthy considerations. I’d rather not be her twin. (Although, as an aside, no matter what people may think, twins aren’t exactly alike, 50% of shared genes or not.)
As it seems, I can’t seem to dispel this friendly neighbor gene that has an urge to come out every so often, now that I’ve managed to voluntarily introduce myself to all but one of my neighbors on my floor…Perhaps I’ll have Princess Noz and her mother over for tea someday. We’ll have a grand time, although I cannot say if she will continue to wow us with her remarkable vocal expressions or else remain in an inexplicable, silent awe. Any guesses?
Perhaps I should re-title this story, “Scales of Noz,” in honor of her vocal cords.