We’ve historically gotten along quite well with our next door neighbor - a single mom who has a son the same age as ours. The kids are practically joined at the hip and freely and seamlessly rotate play from one house to the other. I invited them over for a back yard cookout a couple days ago. One thing about our neighbor - she is quite heavy. I offered her a plastic lawn chair to sit on and she kind of hesitated a moment and said ‘I don’t want to break your chair.’ As it happens I saw her sit in that very chair last summer during another gathering and it worked just fine then, so I told her not to worry about it, and I was sure it wouldn’t break. So she sat down. Sure enough, a leg snapped right off and she went down. Thankfully nothing more than her pride was hurt, but it was apparent she was quite mortified by the incident. I apologized to her and promptly fetched a sturdy indoor wooden chair from the kitchen (like I should have to begin with) and the dinner passed awkwardly but without further incident.
Yesterday - her son knocks on the front door and hands me two $20 bills and says it’s to replace the chair his mom broke. The chair in question was already several years old and I don’t think it cost more than 10 bucks to begin with so I handed him the cash back and said not to worry about it, it was an old chair and if anyone was sorry it was me for not checking to see if the chair was in bad shape first and told her to use the chair, and sent him on his way. Kid comes back a couple minutes later and says ‘no, she insists you take the money’ and drops it on the porch. I picked it up marched next door to talk to her and no one answers the door. So I call over there. No answer. Guess she’s mad.
I feel awful about what happened and I meant it when I said it was my fault. I tried calling over there again to talk about it just a short while ago and no answer. Guess she’s really mad. I want to return the money and I also want to apologize to her once again. But right now there’s no communication.
They’re great neighbors, so how do I make things right here?