Carla stumbled out of the bathroom and flopped back into bed as dawn’s light painted her bedroom curtains. She mumbled a stream of expletives about the hour and rolled over until she was cocooned within her blankets. That’s when she noticed the stationery with scrawled writing. She didn’t recall seeing this note when she went to bed and she lived alone. She began reading.
Dear Neighbor Above,
Hi. You don’t know me. You might think you know me, but you really don’t. In all fairness,though, I think I know you, but I suppose I don’t really know you either. I’d love to correct that if you’ll allow. I’ve heard that you call me Charlie, which is cute, but that’s not my name. I’m not some round-headed kid, I’m not some talking tuna, and I’m not some mysterious voice over a speakerphone directing beautiful private detectives. Others have called me far worse names that I won’t dignify here, but I’m just me, someone who doesn’t get out much. That’s an understatement. I don’t get out at all, but that’s something I desperately want to change. Right now, I imagine you’re thinking How or why do you think you know me?
Please allow me to address the how first. Honestly, the soundproofing around here is awful. Regardless of who occupies that space above me and below you throughout the years – the Sertas, the Sealeys, or even the Tuft-Needles – I can hear everything. Whether you’re singing in the shower, playing with your dog, when you’re… how do I put this delicately… being intimate, and especially when you scream yourself awake from whatever nastiness plagues your dreams, the sound always makes its way down to me.
I’m sure you’ve heard me plenty of times. On those nights you’re screaming, I check to see if you’re okay. Occasionally I remark about how wicked that dream must’ve been. My voice might seem low or distant by comparison. I’m constantly battling some malady and I’m sure I must sound raspy or gravelly and positively frightful. Sorry, my immune system isn’t what it used to be, but I’m trying to get better.
As for the why, I could make anything up, but the truth is I find you mysterious. Your voice sounds beautiful. Even when you’re screaming, there’s a certain quality that hints at something soulful and wonderful. I can only imagine how you look because I haven’t really seen you. I only ever catch glimpses as you pass by. When it’s warm, I’ve seen your feet and ankles plenty, but if I was asked to pick you out of a police line-up, I couldn’t. Unless that line-up only showed feet. Then I could pick you out easily. Your toenails are distinctive.
I should clarify my intentions. All I would like is a chance to meet you. If you would simply extend your hand, in friendship, in kindness, I would happily shake it. If you’re willing, you know where to find me.