An Elephant for a Neighbor

“Now, I have to warn you,” she started when describing the apartment we had decided to take, “the person there now is moving because a family lives above him. They have two children, so they can be noisy.”

Tyler and I looked at each other, the memories of our up-stairs neighbors from the Apartment from Hell flashing through our brain synapses.

I laughed. “A family can’t be worse than the people who used to live above us. Their stairs went right over our bedroom and they always came home loud and drunk at 3 AM.” They also yelled and broke furniture and scared the shit out of me when I was living there alone for a summer and called the cops to report the sounds of abuse.

“Oh, well if you guys are heavy sleepers and don’t mind a little noise during the day, then it shouldn’t be a problem.” We both anxiously reassured her that we’d be fine. After all, a family isn’t typically going to be making loud noises at 3 AM and a little noise during the day won’t hurt.

And the family isn’t as bad as the abusive drunks that used to live above us, even though their peak noise hour is when Tyler and I are still trying to sleep in the mornings. However, some of the noises they make are particularly annoying, such as the constant banging sound immediately above our heads that lasts for about a half hour every morning. Sometimes the sound lasts even longer, at which point the song “Banging in the Nails” by the Tiger Lillies starts looping through my mind. Then there’s the sound of chairs/stools scraping across tiled floor. I originally thought this was also immediately above our heads, but I realized soon after moving in that the sound is probably above our living room and can be heard equally loud from any point in our apartment.

But the oddest of the noises would have to be the one member of the family who walks so heavily that their elephantine footsteps reverberate off our walls, shaking everything hanging from or near to any given wall in our apartment. The entire family is petite, so I was often perplexed by the footsteps every time I heard them. I originally thought the sounds were one of the children stomping around. But then I realized one day, while the kids were playing outside and the footsteps continued crushing everything in their wake upstairs, that it couldn’t be the kids. I then attributed the crashing sounds to the father- the next logical step considering he’s always in a hurry and seems like the type to walk heavily despite his small stature. But as I lay in my bed this morning with the blinds partly drawn to let the plants on my windowsill enjoy the sun, I heard the deafening sound of the footsteps crush their way towards the upstairs door. Soon the sound of heavy steps echoing against the metal porch rang though the dull ache of my head and I looked out the window to see the mother of the family leaving- alone.

So now that I know the truth, I’m even more perplexed.