Until yesterday, parks and shelves were full. Today, everything is empty. Notifications are constantly informing us about the news about the virus which has taken off. Every hour, there are notifications about new restrictions and risk groups. They say that the eldest are the most endangered.
“She called me last week to put the thread through a needle. You know her, from the first floor. She says that a storm is coming and that she’ll need two needles, one with black and other with white thread. Let me tell you… I don’t think that’s because of the difficult times, she rings my door every day and asks me to put the thread or to fix her TV. She is old, she’s forgetful. This time, she seemed specifically upset. She’s not the only one.”
Marija from the first floor was never able to put the thread in the needle. Not even 20 years ago, when her sight was good. She never had a still hand or enough patience. She was in basketball her whole life. When she moved to Njegoševa street, she was 60 and she held up well. She could always foresee some things and that is how she saved herself unnecessary panic. She used to say her neighbours what compresses to use to heal some swellings and spider bites. She was the only woman who understood everything and had a rational solution to everything. Marija is now 80, she hardly climbs to the first floor, her breathing is compromised and she wakes up easily, but she still has the power to foresee. She says that this will be difficult for her, that she needs help, compress from plaintain, boiled porridge and two needles with thread. She says that this time too, she will save herself unnecessary panics, but in the way she has not done until now.
“Yes, we sit every day in our premises and wait for calls. Telephones are always turned on, and we are ready to help. They ask for basics. Polenta, newspapers, radishes, baking paper… Don’t be surprised if I say that out loud these days. I don’t complain, just saying. A grandpa told me over the phone that he would let me go to the groceries only if I don’t use the elevator. He gave me the address and the number of the apartment, I sat on the bike and left. The grandpa lived on the tenth floor! When I finally got there, I asked him why I had to take the stairs. Before he answered, I realised I asked a stupid question. I thank him for that.”
Grandpa Petar and grandma Marija know each other from the seventies, when she was training and he was selling vegetables. Every Sunday, Marija used to visit the counter with vegetables and stopped by to exchange a word with Petar. He moved to Novi Sad his family, where he used to sell his grandfather’s farm vegetable. He lives at the Boulevard, on the tenth floor and he was always complaining about the noise. He used to say how life in the city is unbearably noisy, but he never moved from there. He hated elevators; he used to say how they are the source of infections. Therefore, he was very fit. Petar does not take the elevator at all. He does not go, actually.
“The neighbour from the apartment next door rang on Saturday. It was awkward because I had not seen her until then. Later, Stefan told me that she used to call him often to hang the curtains and bring the pots to their place. She lives alone and never leaves the house. Almost never. She might find this easier than we do. She is used to this. Since the police hour is on, I can identify with her way of life. I’ll ask her tomorrow if she needs anything from the store. I thought.”
Mira has known Petar, from the market, too. It is said that he used to have all kinds of vegetable. She lived in a yard house in Salajka and she was going to the market, only. More precisely, to Petar’s counter. If someone would enter Mira’s yard, the smell of baked dough could have been smelled, and she was inviting everyone to the table. Today, Mira lives in Detelinara, one of her sons is in America, her daughter is in Russia, she is a ballerina. Since then, Mira lives alone, but she still bakes dough. She used to make a lot so that there is enough for the neighbours, too.
Now Petar, Mira and Marija, as their peers, found themselves in different circumstances. In some other times and other problems. They only need newspaper, radish and sugar. They only need attention and a kind word. So, don not find it difficult to visit your neighbours, grandmas and granddads, doing good deeds we become better too, as we have heard in the beginning, now they need us the most.