Everything on the desk was in its correct position. Elise couldn't tolerate chaos, disorder or her pencils being dulled. The ceramic cup holding her scalpels and paintbrushes was free of dust. Even the sunlight shining through her studio window cooperated. The only thing not acting according to plan was the noise coming from the studio next door.
Flora, "a portraitist" she called herself, had taken to humming while she worked. Elise thought it sounded like a cat having its claws removed. It wrecked everything; absolutely destroyed her ability to focus on her own work--drawing intricate water color worlds on the ends of match heads. She'd completed over 4,000 of them in the last five years, but had not finished one since Flora moved in next door.
Flora let out a particularly off-key drone. Elise shrieked and threw her paintbrushes against the window. She smashed her fists on the desk, sending her latest match sticks onto the floor.
The caterwauling coming from Flora's studio stopped; Elise's huffing and puffing the only sound. A knock on the door.
Flora cracked it open, a can of Coke in one hand and a freshly painted portrait in the other.
"Hi neighbor, couldn't help but hear the racket. You okay?"
Elise's face reddened. She diverted her eyes away from Flora's.
"I'm fine, thank you."
"Good. I don't believe we've met. I'm Flora."
The portraitist extended a paint-stained hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you."
Elise accepted her hand.
"Good to meet you. I'm Elise."