Four years ago I reported one of my neighbours to the police for using racist language and from then on, what used to be a kind of friendship, broke down completely.
I always knew that his feelings against non British people were, in my opinion, irrational but I never hid the fact that I believed we were all equal and always stood my ground. Perhaps I would have made some progress at some point but the incident that made me report him to the police wasn’t nice.
Since then we’ve become hostile towards one another and though there are parts of him that I do dislike, on the whole (if I admit it) he’s not that bad. I miss standing on the step with him with our mugs of tea and nattering on about stuff.
Today things got a little heated between us and as I left to walk my dog this evening he was stood on our mutual step. He watched me go down the steps to the path and out into the churchyard.
When I got back he was still stood on the step and I must admit I took a big breath before I walked up them. As I put my key in the door he asked to talk to me and I said yes, braced for something bad. It wasn’t.
He asked me how things had got so bad between us and asked if we could have a talk and put things right so tomorrow we’re going to stand on the step with a mug of tea each and talk.
I will never stop trying to temper his racist views but I think it would be churlish of me to ignore or brush off at what was a brave attempt to begin to put things right. We shook hands and as I closed my front door behind me I heard him go into his flat and close his.
I’m pleasantly gobsmacked.