though I never notice anyone going in or out, except him, of course, and then only rarely. As well as the furniture moving sounds sometimes I hear the sound of running feet, a rapid thud-thud-thud, as if they are chasing one another around the room, as if they’re playing some kind of game of tag. The thudding starts up suddenly, and as suddenly stops. Have they got bored with the game? Did somebody get caught?
I’ve tried hard to get all this out of my mind. It’s none of my business after all. It’s easy to get obsessed about things, to get them out of proportion. But every night, as I lie in bed, I listen out, I’m waiting, and I’m not waiting for sleep, I’m waiting for the first indications that something is happening next door. Once I thought I heard somebody scream; but it was just for a split second, it ended almost before it had begun, perhaps I imagined it.
At night, when I could get to sleep, I’d often dream I was in my neighbour’s apartment. I’d creep through the rooms, moving stealthily between the furniture, careful not to disturb anything. In my dream I’d be watching myself, as if I was watching a movie and the movie happened to feature me. So there I’d be, scouting around, listening out, and I’d start going through their things; searching for clues. Eventually I’d work my way around to the bedroom and start searching there. The bedroom would be full of boxes, all different sizes, a bit like hat boxes, except they weren’t, and I’d keep opening the boxes, but they were always empty; and each time I’d open a box I’d be fearful of what I might find inside. But I’d keep on doing it. I had to force myself, but I just knew I had to keep on looking: there was something I simply must discover. And everytime I had the dream I’d just be about to open the final box, the box that had to contain what I was looking for, when my neighbour would appear from nowhere and say, accusingly: ‘What do you think you’re doing?’
I would freeze in terror at being discovered, but before anything else could happen I’d wake up. I kept having this dream over and over again, and I never got to find out what was in the last box.
The less I actually see my neighbour the more curious I become about him. What does he do? Where does he go? Who are his friends? I was tempted to sneak into his apartment for real. Have a good look around. See what all the DIY amounted to. But it wasn’t a practical idea. I’m not the action type. I know I wouldn’t be any good at breaking and entering: they make it look easy in the movies, but that’s just the movies. And then I thought, why don’t I follow him? See what he does when he’s not moving furniture, or running around it. I toyed with the idea of lying in wait for him to leave the apartment and follow him. See where he goes, what he does, who comes back with him. It would be something. It sounded good in theory, and more practical than breaking into his apartment. But did I really want to do it? The movies make it look glamorous, but in reality I suspected it would be boring; boring and uncomfortable, and pointless. I probably wouldn’t be any good at it anyway. I’d be bound to lose him in the crowds.
Then I got the idea of going through his garbage. On the surface this sounds a lot less appealing, but once certain qualms are set aside it has a lot going for it. I read you can find out a lot about people from what they throw away. People do it to celebrities all the time; sorting through their discards, finding out all kinds of things about them.
So I went down to the garbage area. It’s located in the basement. All the tenants have their own bin. It’s very organized, very orderly. I went early in the morning, before