Voice from the next-door balcony


Every morning as I am getting ready for work and prepping my son for school, I hear her.

Sometimes she’s singing to her daughter. Mostly rhymes, but it must be on difficult days that she puts on the videos on phone. And, I hear an old lady chiding her for that.

Once or twice I heard her husband joining the ladies and they all laugh out loud. One day, she was very angry that the old lady wanted her to do some chores and not spend too much time feeding breakfast to the kid. And, what started as an argument, ended in tears.
Sometimes my son asks- what is that sound? And, I tell it’s mommy of a little baby. Then, when I have bad days where my little one throws a fit about not wanting to bath, I tell see the baby next door is all ready; I use the “wheels on bus” that they are playing to distract him.
Often, I feel there is a time when both our kids are taking a nap or so; I am in that room to run washing machine or fold clothes, and I can hear her catch up with some friend or cribbing to someone that I assume is her mom or sister. I don’t need to know what she’s speaking, the tone says it all.
And this has been going on for a while. I wonder if she can hear me hum a song or convince my son that water is warm in the bath or does she smile when she hears me play monster or when we count to ten for hide and seek.
Then, one day we were cycling just outside our buildings. She came down with her baby girl and we both said hi to each other. My son was too shy to say hi to them, and her daughter looked at us amusingly. We could have talked more, but the old lady appeared and they walked away.
To this day, we hear each other out in a way, without probably ever having to talk and I feel we know each other.
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