What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

My Neighbor Doesn't Talk

My neighbor doesn't talk. He screams.

I live in a small town in northern France. I am an English teacher at the local university and I moved into my new apartment in August. I found the apartment through the British girl that lived here last year. She suggested I contact her landlord about living here. When I came to visit her place for the first time, I asked her if it was a good place to live. She said that it was convenient, close to everything, had a good shower. I asked her if it was quiet, she said, "Well, there are kids so..." I have lived in apartment buildings before. So there's a kid upstairs. So what?

It didn't take long to get my first earful. For the first few weeks I thought that there must be at least two kids living upstairs, but later I learned that it is just one little boy. I have seen him in the hall a few times and I think he is 5 or 6 years old.

I have never heard this child speak. I have, however, heard him scream, yell, moan, grunt, yelp, and squeal. I've heard him rage, shout, yowl, and howl. I think my neighbor is autistic. This is the only explanation I can think of.

I've pretty much gotten used to it. Occasionally, when my window is open, and their window is open, he will let out a real blood curdler, and I jump.

He runs a lot. He also bounces very heavy balls, pulls books and appliances off shelves, and flips over large pieces of furniture. Or so it sounds. He definitely throws toys out the window, as well as the occasional box of milk, sock, sweater, or umbrella.

Once I met the boy and his mother in the hall. She looks about 20 years old. I introduced myself and indicated that I live below them. She asked, "Can you hear the little one?" I said, "Well, yes, but its ok." "So you don't mind the noise?" I told her I understand what its like to live in an apartment building and that this comes with the territory.

I will never ever say anything to them about the noise. This child is going to have a hard enough life as it is. I don't want to make it any harder.


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Have a Next-Door Neighbor Story?

As part of our new webcomic, Next-Door Neighbor, we thought it appropriate to have a little contest. Tell us your best true next-door neighbor story, and the winning tale will be matched with an artist and transformed into a webcomic and included as the final installment of Next-Door Neighbor.

About Next-Door Neighbor

No matter how close or how far, we all live next to someone, and we all have a Next-Door Neighbor story. With that in mind, editor Dean Haspiel asked some of his favorite storytellers and cartoonists to create their favorite NDN stories so we could share them with you.

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By submitting an entry, you are granting SMITH the right to reprint or republish that entry online or in print, as well as make any necessary edits. See SMITH's terms of service for complete details.

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