Once FamilyMan moved out, the apartment was quickly filled by a young couple. La Actress and I tried to get to know them at first, but it soon became apparent that we didn’t want to know them better. She was going to our college in a different major and he was working full time to support them. Unfortunately, this was a an abusive relationship as La Actress and I learned mere days after they moved in. At first we thought that he was hitting her, then from his shouts we realized she was hurting him, finally we concluded that they were hurting each other.

Almost every night they would go out partying, come home and fight. I really started to miss FamilyMan, I never even heard their newborn child cry let alone a fight about who left a light on that disintegrated into a screaming match followed by throwing plates and eventually you could hear them hitting each other. This chick was pretty big and I saw him walk around with a black eye or a limp most days and she sported some injuries herself. We wanted to call help for them, but which of them was the victim?

Meanwhile, the apartment directly upstairs was being renovated. It had stood empty for a while, then one day there were construction workers everywhere. Based on what we saw, we knew they were replacing the carpets with wood floors, updating the counters with real granite and painting the whole place a soft cream color with sage accents. Our apartment and neighborhood weren’t known for being high class and we were situated in a predominantly college area. One more known for beer and illicit substances than with the new mini-chandelier they lugged upstairs.

Soon, it all made sense. The building owner, a middle aged British woman the size of a small stunted bush and as thin as a piece of licorice moved in. I’ll call her Lady, since I often felt like yelling, “Lady! Get a clue!” at her. The first time I met her I ran into her while she was directing her movers and learned a few things – she had lost her house in an expensive area to foreclosure, had just had a facelift and she thought it looked decent, her boyfriend had left her but he’d be sorry once she was back on her feet financially, she was looking for a new relationship with a much younger man and was eager to “show him some moves” and was way too comfortable sharing about her personal life. She liked to wear dresses that would make a stripper blush and heels so tall I was convinced that one wrong step would result in a broken leg. Five inch heels and a dress the size of a tissue do not look good on women over fifty. Hell, not even on most women over 30! But Lady was determined to wear them. One sneeze and I think we all would have seen her snatch. That thought haunted me.

Have you ever watched the TV show Golden Girls? Great show (RIP Estelle, Bea & Rue!) but in every scene you can hear their heels clicking in the background obnoxiously (well, everyone except Bea Arthur). Imagine hearing that click-click-click all the time, day or night. Remember that they replaced her carpet with wood floors plus one of the main staircases was directly next to my front door, so she often clicked her way up and down the stairs. Over and over. I thought I’d go insane after a while, locked in an asylum rocking back and forth hearing that clicking up until the day I died. I’m pretty sure that if hell existed, it would be filled with that clicking sound. It sort of reminded me of the way Predator communicated.

Somehow I doubted that she would be an easy neighbor to live near. I was right…

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