What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Talking Walls

Talking Walls

Rows of townhouses set in neatly planned clumps so a nice little courtyard appeared behind each group.
We'd been luckier than most by having only one attached neighbor. That neighbor, a recently divorced mom of a young child. Her marriage had been a controlling one and she was enjoying her well deserved freedom.
While getting ready for bed one night I heard through the wall of the bedroom, my neighbor's daughter crying in their bathroom. Not just crying tears but also calling out of …...something?
“I want my Daddy” or her dog maybe? Even with paper thin walls couldn't tell for sure. Her crying wasn't one of 'I want' but of something more, something familiar, one of 'I need'. It was her tone, it felt desperate.
Besides her voice there was one of a young man, the neighbor's boyfriend. His voice very calm and soothing. It struck me as odd, both for him and, for someone dealing with a child that had apparently locked herself in the bathroom. I heard him say several times, in a friendly tone “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get it in your eye.”
What did that mean!!!???!!! Running through the possibilities my mind settles quickly on what it always goes straight to.
What could I DO? Call the police and say what? That the neighbor girl is crying? or Go knock on their door late at night in my Jammie and what? DO what, say what? I'd look like a fool, sound like a nosy neighbor with nothing better to do than butt into others normal lives.
Despite the haunting sound of her crying, and convinced I was overreacting, I went to sleep.

A few weeks later, while chatting with my neighbor over the back porch rail, she explained why her boyfriend had not been around lately.

He'd been arrested,
For molesting her daughter.

I'd been right and DONE nothing


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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.

The Fine Print & Contest Rules

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.

This contest ends September 1, 2008. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as awarded. Winners are decided at the discretion of SMITH judges and all decisions are final. SMITH reserves the right to change the contest rules. Enter as often as you want. SMITH reserves the right to reprint or republish all entries.

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