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The Neighbor Next Door


Alan and I live in the corner unit upstairs in the 10-unit apartment building we call home. From our perch, we can see who stands out on their balcony and gauge pretty effectively how many neighbors are home at any given time, depending on the number of cars parked in the claustrophobic “parking lot” in the back of the building.

Two doors down from us live a man and a woman who leave their windows open wide when they cook. On weekends they have bacon. Downstairs there is a family who eats Asian cuisine and who have a red tassel with a Chinese character on it hanging from the ceiling. Then there are the empty units which stand quiet and still, waiting for new people, new couples, new families and confident individuals to come inside and tack pictures and memos up on the refrigerators. For the most part, aside from the sounds of utensils on plates and pleasant chatter over the day’s events, everyone is quiet.

Our next door neighbor is one of the extremely quiet ones. We have actually never seen our next door neighbor but somehow figured out that the neighbor is a woman. Alan thinks that she is an entertainer of men, but the more obvious answer is that she is clearly a ghost. Strange noises will come from the other side of the wall, noises that normal people don’t make. More than once now, I have woken up to the sound of someone/something in that apartment shredding paper through what sounds like an industrial-grade paper shredder. And who gets up at 7 to think The paper. I must shred it, now? Clearly, something not of this world, something… supernatural.

Last modified: January 10, 2019