(from The Spot)
Upstairs, he stops for a moment, just to let the tension build, and then he begins again, softer at first, going east to west and then east again, heading toward the Fifth Avenue side of the building, pausing to get his bearings, to look out at the view, to taunt me, I imagine, before going back into motion for a few minutes, setting the pace with a pendulous movement, following the delineation of the apartment walls—his the same as mine, exactly the same—and then there is another pause, and I lean back and study the ceiling and hear, far off, the sound of knocking in his kitchen, until eventually, maybe five minutes, maybe more, he comes back and begins again persistent and steady, without the usual aggression, as if he had forgotten me, set me aside, put away his desire for vengeance, offering a reprieve from the nature of his knocking.
To the guy downstairs, every sound from above is a kind of knocking. Hammering a nail, sweeping a floor, these are just different breeds of knocks that pound away at his head. And for a while we sympathize with him. What could the upstairs guy be trying to accomplish, pounding away so cruelly? Then, well, we learn more about the downstairs guy. All the world loves an unreliable narrator. Good stuff.
Read it here.