What I’m really thinking: the downstairs neighbour

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It’s more than 8 years since you moved in upstairs and wrecked my life. I’m supposed to have put the nightmare into perspective by now, and friends think that I can laugh about your irrationality and terrifying temper. But I just unpacked some treasured, hand-knitted baby clothes, books and photos, all water-stained and ruined, and it brought it all back.

Your noise and total disregard for anyone living in close proximity lost me my health, my job and the home I had loved for more than 18 years. You flooded me with noise, abuse, water, cigarette ends, rubbish and sewage, and you didn’t care that my life was being destroyed. When I told you that your continual leaks were doing irreparable damage to my flat and my belongings, you said, “Just claim on the insurance.” When I told you that the nightly cacophony from your flat was unreasonable, you flew into a rage and said I was harassing you.

It never occurred to you to modify your behaviour. It never occurred to you that you had an obligation to behave decently. It never occurred to you that certain things can’t be replaced, that things have a value beyond the monetary. And the worst thing is that I got no sleep. No one understood how debilitating this was, how it made me ill and nearly sent me mad. My employer certainly didn’t.

The hell you put me through went on for two years, and although a solicitor’s letter eventually brought about your removal, nothing can bring back the most enjoyable job I ever had, my lovely garden flat or the life I had before you crash-landed above. And yes, I’m still bitter.


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