A nice quiet weekend? the woman downstairs said. What do you mean? I said, through the open back door, a bag of rubbish in each hand. She smoothed her ironing on the board and said, They weren’t around over the weekend—with the baby. She looked happy. I’m lucky living on the top floor, I said. She nodded towards the other side of the building. Jim isn’t so lucky—he’s got the woman upstairs, she said, When he plays the piano and she thumps on the floor. She put the iron back on its stand. She’s heavy-footed, that woman. Bang, bang, bang. I hear her coming down the stairs every morning at six, and the slam of the front door.
That night the wind knocked my vase off the window ledge. I lay awake wondering if the noise of the smash had woken up the people underneath—the ones whose barbecuing sends smoke and disgusting meat smells into my unit. Nothing clings to your furniture like the stink from last week’s burnt fat. Sorry about the crash, I muttered to the floor, It was the wind.
Copyright © 2016 Libby Sommer
Winning entry UTS Alumni Short Short Story Competition 2014
First published UTS Writers Connect