The Mystery Upstairs

It seems I haven’t written anything here since the end of September 2022, which was about four months ago. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since until recently I don’t remember the last time I had thought about writing anything here, but for the most part my life has remained the same. I did get together with friends last weekend (after requesting a couple days off work), so it worked out for me to bring pizza to my current tabletop campaign group’s gaming night, which was something like the first time we’d got together in two months.

In other news, I was sick a few months ago (sore throat, possibly feverish, I think it was early November), which might have been COVID based on some of my coworkers being sick around the same time, but on the other hand I also never took a Covid test, and after a few days I got better, so I don’t know if it was actually COVID or something with similar symptoms. More recently, this week (since Monday, I think) I’ve had some respiratory symptoms in the shape of my nose running and some congestion, so I don’t know if it’s a sinus infection or a cold, or potentially something more ‘serious’. In any event, other than my nose running a little (and it hasn’t really done that for a couple days) I don’t think I’ve been very sick, so I’ve been trying to drink lots of fluids and get plenty of sleep.

In other other news, the title of this post refers to my new neighbor. The previous tenant of the apartment above me didn’t seem to spend much time here, and while I had seen or heard him around a few times in the last year or so, I had heard indirectly that he may have been mainly living with a girlfriend and renting the apartment as a place to stay when the weather was bad or other occasions so he wouldn’t have to drive an hour (or whatever his normal commute would have been). He did get married this past fall, and from what I’d heard it was possible that he might keep the apartment through the winter. Since moving to the second floor last summer, I hadn’t really noticed any changes- I’d heard him come in a few times, but then he usually left after a few minutes and I don’t think he ever spent the night.

I was surprised, then, when I got a text from one of my landlords in early January of this year that someone was going to be moving into the upstairs apartment. I was further confused when there were no signs of activity on that front for a couple days, until I heard activity in the hallway outside my apartment and upstairs a couple days later, and then a few days later over the weekend I heard activity that actually sounded like maybe someone was moving in and had some help, but I never met anyone or actually saw anyone moving in. Eventually, I’ve noticed a purple Honda that I’ve decided must be the car that the new upstairs neighbor drives.

This week, I’ve thought it slightly funny that there’s now been at least twice that I’ve almost met my new neighbor. A couple days ago, this past Tuesday, I was scheduled to work at 12:15 PM, and since it’s only a drive of a few blocks I usually don’t leave until about 5 minutes until I’m supposed to be at work. About noon I heard movement and decided it sounded like the neighbor had come in, and when I stepped out into the hallway to leave for work I noticed the door to the upstairs apartment was open and it sounded like someone was in the laundry room. As I walked by I glanced in and saw a pink coat, but I didn’t notice anything else, so I don’t know if she saw my face or not.

The next day, I had Wednesday off work and had planned to go to the grocery store for vinegar and a few other things. About 2:30 PM, I was backing up and getting ready to pull into the alley to get to the street and take my usual route to the grocery store (and work and almost anywhere else) when I saw the neighbor’s purple Honda pulling in to the alley, so with some quick thinking I backed up and turned around to go the other direction out the other end of the alley. After about 20 minutes at the grocery store, I returned and noticed the neighbor was gone.

Since there’s a fire alarm that’s been beeping for over a month, and based on what I’ve noticed about them not being here as often as I am, the last few days I’ve begun to wonder if this new neighbor is a similar situation where they’re renting the apartment as a place to stay on nights they have to work late, or something like that. There’s been a few times recently where I’m sitting in my apartment and I hear them go to the upstairs apartment at like 11:30 PM or around midnight, but it’s never happened on the recent nights I have been closing at work (which have lately been Sundays and a couple Tuesdays), or else we might be meeting outside by our cars or something, and to the admittedly limited degree that I pay attention, it seems like they only spend maybe one or two nights a week here, if that.

I, by contrast, do almost nothing other than work or sit in my apartment, so usually I’m spending more like 7 nights a week in my apartment. I’m not sure what the exact average is lately, since I haven’t been to my parents’ for a few weeks, but spending the night at a friends’ last weekend sort of brings down my average of spending 7 nights a week here (compared to my neighbor’s 1 night a week or whatever it’s been).

I didn’t almost run into them today (I was scheduled to also have today off work, but I agreed to work for a couple hours and then it turned out I wasn’t needed after all), but the way our near-meetings have gone the last couple days I feel like it’s an inevitability that our paths will cross sooner than later and, much like the older couple that moved in downstairs last fall, maybe I’ll have a chance to meet them and introduce myself properly (rather than these weird near misses).


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