Friday, September 07, 2007

Making Friends

I return home late in the day, more tired than I should be since I'd managed to steal nine hours of fragmented sleep the night before. A neighbor I don't recognize is bent over her mailbox in the entrance of my building.

"Bonsoir," I say as cheerfully as I can, and hold the door while she picks up her mail.

"Bonsoir," she replies a few seconds later, distractedly and little ungratefully, I decide. I've become French enough to consider the etiquette of greetings very important.

As we both enter the elevator, she takes a look at me and Petit, who is stapped to my chest in the Bjorn.

"You must live above us," she says, and not in that how-cute-you-have-a-new-baby way, but the same way she might have asked me if we were breaking down a concrete wall in our spare time.

I try to smile and probably fail.

She continues, "You're on the sixth floor, right? Because we're on the fifth. We hear him sometimes at night."

"Well, we aren't sleeping too well at the moment," I manage.

"You were on vacation last week, no?"

Yes, I admit, we were on vacation. I knew le Petit had lungs, but so much so that I'm interrogated by the neighbors? The walls in our apartment aren't that thin.

"You look tired," she says with what might be tiny note of pity, and then adds just before she steps out, "He's cute... when he's not crying."


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