The practical retribution on the inconsiderate neighbours in Paris-Part 4


Fate—is a factor you cannot overuse in fiction lest the plot becomes unrealistically convenient. Thus the characters in the novel have to take matters into their own hands. The readers cheer on while fully aware that it does not happen in real life. Nevertheless, as this is my true story, I am no superhero. I could only wait meekly for the universe to intervene. I could not even move out of the apartment because the real estate agent would want to know why I wanted to break the contract. If I told them the truth, they would contact Leila's landlord, which would tick off her fiancé. Thus, I had no choice but to rely on a sound masking application that softens the onslaught of the washing machine and her relentless high-heel strikes on the floor without carpets. I was trapped in the same dilemma as Mr KIND, the former resident, found himself.  

Then one night, a blast of disco music blocked out every sound in the world. It was coming from a restaurant-bar nearby whose manager had no respect for the thin walls of the historic buildings. The drumming beat continued to hit all of us until 03:00 in the morning. It was December, and the bar would be partying till new year's eve. It must have annoyed both Leila and her fiancé, for they decided to leave and stay elsewhere, but I did not yet know this when there was this knock on my door. 

I jumped out of my skin but realized the tap was soft. So I opened the door and saw a demure-looking French girl. She wanted to borrow my hairdryer. Leila had sub-rented her apartment without telling this girl about the noise from the bar. The inconsiderate couple had no problems nor scruples about taking money from this French girl who would suffer the noise in their place. Those two even took their dryer with them, so this poor French girl was left without one in a cold winter in Paris.  And immigrants always complain that the French mistreat them.  

I let the poor French girl use my hairdryer. There was a possibility that she might nick it because it had once happened to me. Two foreign students had borrowed my hair dryer, and they simply kept it, ignoring me afterwards. However, this French girl promptly returned my hair dryer. I was assured of her integrity, so I went to this old lady who lived in the same building and asked her to let the French girl use the lady's dryer during my absence. I was leaving for a trip to escape the party noise from the bar. I needed my hairdryer in Austria because I was staying in an Airbnb, not a hotel.

Once in Wien, Austria, I caught up with my much-needed sleep, and as I regained my strength, I assessed the situation. The bar nearby should not be much problem as the owner-residents in the building would surely complain about the bar music once they returned from the Christmas holidays. So it was back to those two anti-socials upstairs.   Leila's fiancé was from a country that held a long grudge against France, but he still craved recognition by the French. With that denied, he seemed determined to defy anything French, including the French regulations.  the unhinged couple was determined to establish superiority over me, the Asian, by any means. However…something told me things were going to be all right as I listened to the God-sent voice of angels by the Vienna Boys' Choir.

Mirror that reflects your soulIn January, I returned to my apartment. As I climbed up the stairs, I noticed the air was light. I said this before, but people's negative aura carries an actual weight. The old lady to whom I had asked to look after the French girl tourist staying in Leila's apartment passed by and wished me Bonne Année.   She gave me the news that Leila and her fiancé had left. Or, more precisely, gotten kicked out by their landlord. It turned out that this building had a strict regulation against the tenants sub-renting out to tourists without the landlords' permission. The old lady neighbour promptly informed Leila's landlord, who immediately kicked Leila out. 

This was not my intention, for I did not know the rule. I just felt sorry for the French girl. I did not want her to be miserable and WET without a hairdryer and human contact during her holiday in Paris.   Was it kindness that saved me? Maybe a little, but fate may have intervened through the misdemeanour of the bar next door to which Leila and her fiancé responded with greed. They thought to extract some cash from tourists while escaping the party noise; however, the plan backfired. I could not touch those two anti-socials, but their greed could. I sat down and cried with relief. However, this was Paris. It would not end without one more twist.   

Just as we often refuse to confront the imminent danger, we also deny threats in the past as if they had been all in our minds.  In my case, I wanted to retain faith in humanity, so as days went by, I tried to see Leila in a more sympathetic light. Had she not suffered from chronic pain in her joints, she may not have mixed up with bad news like that man. But I could not suppress the memory of her high heels persistently striking against the tile floor in the middle of the night to annoy Mr KIND and me. It may have led to her having chronic pain in her knee joints. Her malicious intent started the whole negative spiral of karma after all. 

With this thought, I stood in front of the mailbox when the postman placed a packet aside the mailboxes. The address was correct, but he could not find the nameplate that matched the name written over the package. It was addressed to Leila. Then, a distant memory flashed back. It was of Leila going pale, holding a packet in front of her mailbox, just like the one that had just been delivered…anonymously.