Mr. Morelli’s Upstairs Neighbors

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on

“You would think someone had died!” Mr. Morelli huffs in frustration. His upstairs neighbors are at it again today! Every day it was the same; yelling, crying, and moaning.

Get a grip! Some of us are trying to enjoy our retirement down here!

He pounds on his low ceiling. The pounds never seem to do any good. The narrow room in which his narrow bed lies also features an exceedingly low ceiling! That was a selling feature for Gino. He could pound on the ceiling without even leaving his bed!

“Please, please, I beg you! I’m trying to sleep down here!” he shouts and the sounds of his shouts, in his tiny room, hurts his ears.

But the muffled cries continued to rain down upon him from above.

I should go see what the fuss is about maybe?

He thinks about leaving but as he opens his eyes he sees that his power is out again. He keeps intending to monitor how often this happens but for the most part, he prefers to just sleep anyway so he adopts a philosophical outlook to the unreliable utilities and usually just rolls over and returns to sleep.

Gino is amazed at how his dreams always seem to resume just where the last left off! He’s been dreaming about his childhood since moving in here. Just this morning his dreams were of his thirteenth birthday party. No longer a child; Gino was now a man! He did manly things and made sure his mother knew that she could lean on him more now. Especially now that Frank Sr, Gino’s father had just decided to not come home one day.

He manages to tune out the crying sounds and return to his dreams just in time to see his little sister carry in his birthday cake which she had made herself. It was a pineapple upside-down cake, Gino’s favorite.

He thinks he should maybe sleep less. But this is what he had worked so hard for so long for! Why not enjoy it?

This is the life! I wake up and the first thing I do is take a nap! Ha!

Gino tries opening his eyes.

Damn it!

The power still hasn’t been reconnected.

Surely Sheila sent the check; hadn’t she?

He thinks about calling out to her. He assumes she is sleeping in her bedroom (separate bedrooms he considers the one move that saved his marriage). He loved Sheila since high school but he was never able to catch any real sleep with her since she went through menopause. She was either very, very hot, or ice cold. There was no happy medium with her internal body temperature.

Though that heat sounds pretty good right now, maybe I should give her a shout.

The cries come down and Gino reaches up and bangs on his ceiling!

“Please! I’m trying to sleep down here!” Gino explains to his inconsiderate upstairs neighbors.

He closes his eyes and begins to dream again.

In his darkened room, he reaches up to his ceiling again, knocks once. He suddenly wants to hear his neighbors. After complaining for days about the noise, he finds he is missing it. Crazy!

Was there less of a racket from his upstairs neighbors today?

He can’t recall but suspects the answer is yes.

He taps at the ceiling and his fist bumps into the silky, pillowy material of his coffin lid.

Oh yeah! I’m dead. One of these days maybe I’ll remember that.

But then as he shuts his eyes he forgets everything. He forgets the incredibly painful chest pains, the startled look on Sheila’s face as he informs her that they should probably, maybe go to the hospital now, the panicked look in her eyes as she re-entered the ICU room with the doctor by her side, the consultation, the final alarms as he slipped away, the valiant but failed resuscitation attempts by the medical team. It had all left him profoundly weary. He wanted desperately to put a hand on the internist operating the defibrillator and suggest that she could just … stop … just … let … go! It was okay! He was ready.

He sleeps. He forgets. He wakes.

He suspects the cries from the neighbors will be less of an issue tomorrow, and definitely by the day after. In a month there will likely be no crying, no fussing whatsoever. This saddens him in ways he cannot describe. His hands find the silky, pillowy fabric again.

Oh yeah! I’m dead! I died and now I am dead and will always and only be dead.

His attention drifts away again. He thinks briefly about wandering upstairs and checking on his neighbors.

It would be the neighborly thing to do! They sound so upset. I think I will! I will be a good neighbor for once and go check on them! Right after my nap!

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