Love Your Neighbour

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Anger was something Anna had struggled with all of her life, even after "successfully" completing anger management classes twice. She knew that the best way to hatch despair was to brood over her troubles and it worked every single time. Anna's anger was often misguided at people who didn't have anything to do with the problem. That was especially true when it came to the pesky neighbours who lived in her apartment building.

Everybody knew that she didn't take well to strangers, and when she first moved across the railroad tracks into a rather fancy neighbourhood compared to the kind of environment she'd always lived in previously, Anna arrived with nothing but contempt and defiance towards the neighbours. She arrived with locked into the frame of mine that she didn't want to have anything to with any of them, not the nice ones, not the weird ones, not any of them. In the past, all of Anna's relationships with the neighbours had ended up being disastrous to put it mildly and left her with deep regret and anger at herself, so she made the decision to just plainly not associate with the new she would meet in her new place.

Anna did that quite well too, by treating the ones she was acquainted with with contempt and completely ignoring the ones she didn't yet know even after the multiple friendly attempts they made to warm up to her and welcome her to the neighbourhood. Anna had also convinced herself that people who had money wouldn't be able to understand the struggles she went through because she didn't have any money, and so she wanted nothing to do with the upper-middle class folks who surrounded her.

It did not matter how many times the neighbours said hi to her or waved at her, she never reciprocated the gesture and in fact showed no reaction at all. Some neighbours just ended up ignoring Anna (which is in fact exactly what she wanted) but others didn't, so Anna figured that she might as well just give up the freak show but still not befriend them. That turned out to be hard for her to do since one of them really wanted to be her friend and wouldn't let her attitude get in the way.

Despite her conflicting inner feelings and emotions about others, Anna still silently prayed for an angel. If she'd only have one of those she wouldn't have to deal with all of those annoying people! It seemed like such a contradiction to her because she wasn't stupid and she knew that if she wanted an angel she'd have to open herself up to him or her. She wasn't quite there yet, however. She still had no intentions of opening up to anyone. The real conflict was not with other people, it was inside Anna. She was fighting a losing battle with herself.

She thought back to the first time her roommate had introduced her to their neighbour Werner, some arbitrary German guy living there temporarily for an engineering job. Anna couldn't have cared less. Antoinette, Anna's roommate had tried to get them both to talk to each other numerous times but Anna had repeatedly kept avoiding it by making a bunch of excuses. Antoinette had told her that Werner was a very polite and kind man and that it would be good for her to speak with someone like him, even casually just to talk somebody to talk to, but Anna wasn't anything in anything. Nothing at all, and nobody could do anything about it. Looking back, Anna would come to thank Antoinette because it would turn out that she and Werner would form a very close bond, except that she didn't know that just yet.

Anna had been repeatedly putting off the meeting for over two weeks when one warm evening in mid-July it turned out that they all had to work out in the garage at the same time. There was no conflict, in fact there barely had been any interactions and much less any conversations, but Anna still wasn't interested. It was no different with the other neighbours. She avoided them every chance she got. Still fighting a battle within herself, Anna turned to God and asked him to point out one person in whom she could put her trust and befriend. Just one. She was apprehensive, but deep inside of her she knew that she wanted to take that first step. She was her only obstacle in life, but she believed that God was bigger than all of her inner conflicting feelings.

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