They Sickened Me

Something

 They Sickened Me

I hated my neighbours. Whenever I walked past them in public they would always smile and say hello, then good bye. Just like that. There was no ceremony in it what so ever. You would think there wasn’t a care in the world from the way they acted. It sickened me.

They sickened me. They were the kind of people who thought that every facet of life was a game–no, they didn’t think, they believed. And I hated them for it. Who did they think they were?

The particular couple in question shared the same apartment complex with me, and their apartment was right next to mine. After my first night in the building I had made it a point to change my schedule so as to avoid them whenever I left for work, or returned from it.

It was 2:30 am and I couldn’t get to sleep. I wasn’t accustomed to the amount of noise that the other tenants made, coming straight from a normal household. And no amount of anything will express to you how normal my family is compared to them.

At 2:45 am I began to hear rustles from next door, and then quiet laughter. It continued like that for the next fifteen minutes, until the laughter came to a horrible crescendo. I was like a statue in my bed, stiff and wide-eyed as I drank in the shrieks and screams. The noise was like a horde of hyenas . . . That’s the closest thing to it . . . Until it stopped abruptly. Following that the building was quiet.

Too quiet. My ears still rang with those horrible sounds. At around five I couldn’t take it anymore, and got out of bed. No amount of caffeine helped the situation. All I could do was be thankful I had the day off, and the day after that.

***

I studied Paul’s reaction when I finished my tale. “So, do you still think I’m being harsh?” I asked him. “Is that a good enough reason for you?” The question may have seemed a bit defensive, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. People who didn’t bother to understand my decision weren’t worth the time. Anything relating to the people next door to me was moot, along with my disgust for them.

It was that simple. Hello, good bye, without any ceremony what so ever.

After a minute Paul rubbed his right ear. He had the odd habit of doing that whenever something bothered him. That’s why I assumed he did it so often, I had never really asked. Finally he said: “Yes, that makes a lot of sense.”

I was so surprised at his reaction, I practically spilled my coffee on my shirt. He laughed at me. “Why the sudden change?” I asked him.

Paul paused for a second before replying. “I–wanted to hear it from you. Let’s just say we’ve had the same experience.” Paul lived on the ground floor. Before I could open my mouth he went on. “When I first moved into this building I was in the same apartment as you, and the same freakin’ thing happened.” Paul never came close to swearing, but freakin’ was extreme even for him. His eyes became unfocused as he shook his head. “The storage closet beneath them used to be an apartment too, a family lived there. According to someone on the floor the husband went insane, shot his family, and hung himself. Your neighbours moved in just two weeks before.”

ashkenaz

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