“Alright, bye Tatiana!”
Just like that, before I can say respond, he closes the door and he’s gone. Well, bye Max. I have breakfast to attend to anyways.
As I’m eating, I notice a beautiful bird land on the birdfeeder on our balcony. We are on the third-floor and it gets a lot of traffic. I so enjoy watching them and hearing them sing. It’s something Max and I share. I remain perfectly still while watching the blue tit–a common one in our area but very pretty just the same. They fascinate Max because, he says, they’re basically dinosaurs that have survived; I just can’t keep my eyes off them. Who knew dinosaur calls were such beautiful sounds.
Looking out the window, I am remembering the years when Max was in college and we would spend the summers at his parents' house out in the country. It was beautiful. Lots of trees to climb and animals to watch and chase around: lots of finches as well as bigger birds like the sapsucker and squirrels as well. Even a pheasant was around. I never actually managed to chase him down, but it was so fun to try. Max’s Mom did not like me doing that but I was just being playful, like a kid on holiday–it was summer break after all. They would get scared of me and fly away before I got close enough to hurt them. Later I’d heard her and Max argue. She was afraid they wouldn’t come back and would tell Max to keep me in check. He stood up for me, but he also tried to reassure her that I couldn’t actually catch them, which was hurtful to hear, but he later told me he only said that to calm her down. I know she eats chicken all the time, so I don’t understand what the problem is with me trying to catch a pheasant.
My babies are crying, interrupting my contemplation. I’m sure they’re hungry. I was right, they demand milk. It is exhausting–my work here never stops–but I love them so. All three of them are growing up and learning so quickly. I’m very proud of them, but there’s still so much I have to teach them.
Max has been a great help. He’s very attentive and you can tell he loves me and them very much. He took a lot of time off from work when they were first born to make sure I was okay and tried to spoil me as much as he could. Of course I didn’t really have much time for that as only I can feed the babies with my milk and I need my sleep, and that’s pretty much all the time of the day accounted for, but it was so touching to see him try and come up with different things he could do for me.
Looking at the three little rascals, as they are now dozing off into a food coma, I wonder which one looks most like dad. Probably the middle one, Alex, with those piecing green eyes, and already so hairy.
I should try to get some rest, too, now is my opportunity since they’re all sleeping. I settle comfortably right news to them.
I hear footsteps in the hallway and I am excited–is it Max already? It doesn’t feel like he’s been gone very long. Maybe he got off work early to come home, spend time with the kids and pamper me?! But the steps vanish just as they came. Maybe a neighbor or something. I am not about to get up and check it out; mama needs some shut-eye.
Just as I’ve almost dozed off, I hear footsteps again, this time they are louder, more forceful, and accompanied by metal clanking. Then I hear a loud bang, and steps walking away. What is going on!?
There’s more footsteps getting close and then they stop, then another set and then more still. I hear deep voices talking but I can’t hear what they’re saying. Then there’s more clanking and clinking.
I hear more footsteps, this time slow and soft. That’s our landlady Mrs. Watson–I recognize hers by now, she doesn't walk, she shuffles. Max likes her, he says she’s nice and fair.
“Thank you for coming on such short notice,” I hear her say. “I was afraid this rail was going to fall off, look how loose it’s gotten. I don’t know how this can happen?! Are people doing gymnastics in the hall?! I don’t understand.”
“It’s alright, we can get this done pretty quickly. I’d say no more than three or four hours.”
“Oh that would be great. I want it to be done before people start coming back from work. I really don’t want anyone to get hurt you know?”
“I think we can do that,” the man says, self-assured. “Is anyone on this floor home right now, do you know?”
“No, I really don’t think so.” She says.
Hey! Rude! We are here. I want to go and tell her off but I don’t feel like getting up. I’ll have Max remind her I live here, too–and the babies! I know he likes her, but I suspect she’s going senile. She lives in the other building, sure, but how do you forget about one of your residents with three little ones?!
“Great, now when can we get some power?”
“Come with me, I’ll show you.”
I hear the sounds of her and the man walking away.
What is going on?
Now Giselle wakes up, demanding milk. Oh my first-born love.. Just as she finds a comfortable position, the man’s footsteps return. I hear him talk to the others, but can’t understand what they’re saying, only about every third word. And before I can figure it out, there is music blasting from the hallway! Did they say this was hoing to go for hours? I look down at the kids and they seem okay so far.
Then the hammering starts. It rings out so loud and it’s just plain unbearable. All three kids have woken up and are crying.
What should I do? What can I do?
I try to comfort them, yet it’s simply not working. Their cries are getting more and more urgent. I can’t say I blame them–I feel for them and I feel the same way. But their cries are hardly making my situation more pleasant.
I want to go out there and yell at them, but I doubt I can actually make them stop. They’ll probably just yell at me. I’m also not feeling up to talking to a bunch of men–I’m sure the new mom look is not going to help me make my case. Max has been telling my I’m gorgeous and radiant, but I am sure I must be haggard.
I need to find a way to make this bearable until they’re done or until Max comes back. If he were here, he’d know what to do. But what can I do now?
I know! The closet! It’s the most sound insulated place in here. I quickly run over to check it out and sure enough: it is much better. I climb into the back, behind the pile of smelly shoes and old backpacks, and find a nice cozy spot big enough for all four of us.
I bring all the kids over, one by one. You can still hear the noise, the hammering, the music, and the metal clinking that is now back in the mix as well, but it is much more tolerable. I feed the kids again and they fall asleep, snuggled up to me.
Although it feels like eternity, I try not to think about the time.
Finally, it ends. The clanking and hammerin stops, then the music. Afterwards, I hear their steps going back and forth for a bit and, at last, it’s all over.
I can now relax. Max will be home soon.
Just as I am dozing off, I hear the front door open and Max walking in, calling my name. I call out to him, but with the kids all cozy, I desperately don’t want to wake them.
Max is calling out louder as he’s walking through the apartment, not seeing me.
“Tatiana! Giselle! Alex! Noelle! I’ve missed you all day! Where are you?”
I call out to him louder, too, and he hears me this time and sticks his head inside the closet.
“Are you hiding back here?” he pushes away his clothes and finally sees us.
“Sweetheart, look at you, you’re the cutest. I am sorry about the noise–Mrs. Watson told me they were replacing the railing on our stairs today. But I see you figured it out. You’re the best and the smartest kitty in the world.”
Oh did I not mention that? I am a cat.