new neighbors

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. My upstairs neighbors have  a dog and I hear him walking on the hardwood as I work and watch tv from my office.  Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.  My upstairs neighbor’s wife, she wears heeled shoes at home, and who wears shoes in their home – is that a thing? She’s from California – I can tell by the license plate – but I’m sure that’s not to blame for the shoe thing.  Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.  I can hear them up there: walking – not pacing – back and forth as I sit here, unarguably underfoot of both dog and woman. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. Music plays softly in addition to the four feet plus two, and the whole house contains the modest happiness of songs played aloud that are about to be snuffed out by exhaustion.

A key turns in a lock, and footsteps climb up stairs. A door slams open and bigger footsteps than before walk across the rooms above me, slower than the previous, and more rubbered than tappy. Muffled voices exchange what are presumably words, and then the rooms above fall silent. The music stops mid-song, and the mumbles turn to murmurs turn to question marks and blanks, and I feel the tension weighted down to rest upon my shoulders. Uninvolved and unobtrusive, and an unexpecting witness. I’d rather them be loud and happy than stifling me with silence. The nerve of people and their pets.

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