Neighbor

I’m a college student living in an apartment just off campus. My neighbor and I have never met. Let’s call her Sheila.  Here’s what I know about Sheila thanks to our crappy building’s super thin walls. 

1. She’s in an acapella group. Several of the school groups held auditions one day, and that night I heard Sheila and her friends discussing how they went. Since I had yet to purchase any dinnerware (I had just moved in and didn’t expect to be spying on someone so soon. I usually wait a couple weeks, at least.), I was without a glass to hold up to wall for sound amplification. Luckily, I had acquired a sparkly owl mug from the Urban Outfitters sale section that morning, so I grabbed it and cozied up to the sheet of plaster between our apartments. By “cozied up”, of course I mean I craned my neck, kneeled into an unintentional groin stretch, and breathed through the pain. Apparently, one auditioner sounded like Janis Joplin, another was more “polished Britney”, and a third led Sheila to suggest that “it might be good to have a rapper.”

2. On Thursday nights, Sheila holds ’90s/early ’00s themed parties. Leave your acid-wash jeans and slap bracelets at home, though, because unless you’re willing to belt ‘N Sync until three in the morning, you aren’t invited. This is purely a singing party. The music usually starts around midnight, so if you happen to be in sitting in bed, quietly reading “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and thinking that maybe Sheila skipped this week’s get-together, don’t get your hopes up. It’s on. Once you hear Sheila’s balcony screen door slide open, you aren’t sleeping for a while. The first night I heard Sheila’s party, I actually cried myself to sleep. It was just so loud and I was so tired and I’m still a child, really. After that, I picked up some CVS earplugs (surprisingly AMAZING, by the way) and now it’s no big deal.

3. Sheila is an amazing singer. Sheila can riff like Christina Aguilera without batting an eye. Keep in mind I can’t actually see her, so this is all what I imagine and assume is happening. Sheila likes to sing in her kitchen, which is ironic because I spend I lot of time in my kitchen, and the two are connected. I can hear her chopping veggies (again, this is what I assume) and baking apple pie from scratch (probably true) while she gives Adele a run for her money. It’s so nice to listen to and the only downside is that makes me feel horrible about myself. Sheila’s over there making vegan lasagna with eggplant strips instead of noodles, and I’m crouched in front of my fridge eating canned pumpkin and almond butter. Not even peanut butter! Every time I catch myself singing “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, I have to abruptly stop for fear that Sheila will hear me and laugh at my ineptitude. I can’t help but think of her slyly giggling as she scrapes the beans out of a fresh vanilla stick.

4. Sheila will probably be famous one day and I can’t wait to explain to people how I knew her.