Continued from December 22, 2014. In case you guys missed that post, here’s the link:
He awoke the next morning to golden silence.
Ok, so perhaps it wasn’t golden exactly, but it was a lot more golden than the noise last night had been and he relished it accordingly.
Sometimes, she sang in the shower. He could hear her, even through the wall, if he happened to be home at the time. She didn’t shower regularly – well, he supposed she did. It wasn’t that she was dirty, or anything, but rather that she did not seem to have apportioned a specific time each day to showering. Thus, he was not always subjected to her singing. He should be grateful for her erratic schedule.
Instead he was just alarmed, feeling as though the wall could burst into song at any moment and there was nothing he could do about it.
Simon pulled himself out of bed and threw himself into the shower. He brushed his teeth in silence, dressed in silence and walked out the door in blissful silence.
This was, he thought, how things were supposed to be.
He did not listen to the radio in the car. He sometimes listened to classical music at work – through a pair of headphones, so as not to disturb anyone, but he chose not to today.
Today, he valued the silence.
He turned on the radio for just a second on the way home. He was not sure why he did this. He touched the on-button in the same way a child touches the metal of a hot stove – after he has already been burnt. As though he is wondering if the thing could possibly still be as hot as it was the first time.
Indeed, it is.
Still as loud. Still as tinny and raucous. He only caught a few seconds-worth of music – perhaps ten seconds in all. But he was surprised that he recognized the song. It was one she had been singing a few nights ago. Something about roaring.
He would have found it quite funny, if he hadn’t been trying to read at the time.
Who was he kidding?
He hadn’t been reading. The book had long since been put away, like the sham it was. He wasn’t reading anymore – hadn’t been for a few nights now. He was just listening. And he knew he shouldn’t be.
This would, he decided firmly, have to come to an end. Soon. Very soon.
Simon knew that this couldn’t go on very much longer. He did, after all, want to know how the book ended – what happened to the characters.
The end, he decided, was always the best part. Except sometimes the best part was the middle. And sometimes it was in the beginning.
Actually, Simon decided, he was simply not very good at deciding.
But he returned home, riding the almost-silent elevator until it dinged at the fourth floor, and walking down the hall to his humble abode.
He made himself dinner, ate it quietly, and washed the dishes afterward. Then he cleaned up the apartment – not that there was so very much of it to clean. Then he fussed about and did a few other things.
Simon did not lie to himself. And he would not lie to himself on this occasion either. He wasn’t doing anything – or rather he was. But what he was doing – whatever he was doing – didn’t cover up what he was really doing, which was waiting.
Simon was waiting. And he had no idea what he was going to do.
When the music came on at 10:04, it was a relief, as though some switch had been flipped and the tension had spilled out of the room.
He listened for a while. Ah, there was that roaring song again. Vaguely pleasant, in a commercial, sing-song kind of way, he decided. He almost liked it. Almost.
But it had to stop. He couldn’t live like this. He just couldn’t.
Simon thought about what he was going to do. Or what he maybe possibly sort-of could do.
He wasn’t going over there to knock on the door and tell her to turn it down. He’d long since realized that he couldn’t do that.
So what was he going to do?
Could he write her a letter? Maybe slip it under her door?
That was ridiculous. A note. Like they were still in high school or something. What would he write in it?
Dear Girl? Dear Neighbor? Dear Attractive-woman-whose-name-I-don’t-know?
Was a letter creepy? Perhaps mildly so. But, he decided, a letter was really his only choice.
Simon was, after all, not very good at deciding things.
But still, stubbornly – decisively – he pulled out a piece of paper and sat down at his cherry-wood dining room table to write. He liked his cherry-wood dining room table.
Actually, he liked everything in his apartment, which was why he had picked it out, but the table, he thought, was particularly lovely, dark wood, with a bright gleam in it. Dark, but not depressing. Quiet, with a surprising bit of bright beauty.
But his job, just now, was not to wax poetic about his dining room table. It was to write a letter. A rather difficult letter. A rather difficult letter made even more difficult by the fact that there was still raucous pound music coming through the wall.
Simon released a heavy sigh. Not that he could hear it, over the music. But he knew it was there.
That was a good way to start a letter, wasn’t it? Friendly, but not too friendly. Not creepy-friendly. And it easily bypassed the whole name-knowing thing.
“My name is Simon. I’m your next door neighbor.”
So far so good. It wasn’t brilliant, gripping writing, but it at least had the virtue of being true.
“I like to read at night, and when you play music, I find it distracting.”
Also true, if perhaps slightly creepier. Oh well, there was nothing to be done about that.
“I would appreciate it very much, if you could turn your music down, or perhaps listen to it on head phones.”
There. Not bad. He’d at least gotten the point across.
He signed his name with minimal flourish, although Simon isn’t really a flourish-y kind of name. Not like Michelangelo or Armand or Vincent. No. Simon was just Simon. And generally speaking, he was ok with that, even if his name did look a bit small on the page.
With another heavy sigh, he folded up the piece of paper and tucked it into an envelope, even sealing the envelope for good measure.
There, he thought. That’s done.
Now came the hard part. Now he had to deliver it.
To be continued…..