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Little Visitor

June 2000

My boyfriend recently moved to a post-WWII prosperity era apartment complex that is quite labyrinthine. In the baby boom after the war, there was a day care and preschool in the extensive basement and there still remains a bathroom with tiny sinks, counters and toilets, all sized down to suit children. Now, though, due to the size of the apartments and how thin the walls are, there are no children allowed in this particular building.

One night after work, I went to his apartment to stay. He has given me a set of keys for convenience, so I let myself in and I heard him say "Hi, sweetie". As I said hi back, I heard a voice from behind me say "Hello?" in a questioning tone. I turned around and saw no one, but as his apartment is the last before the hall bends, I thought it was someone out of sight, even though the voice was child-like, and there are no children living on his floor. A little later, when I was in bed, he ran to the store to fetch some milk, leaving me tucked in reading a novel. As I began to settle in for warmth, I heard the same voice from the hallway say "Hello", but from the foot of the bed. I looked up quickly and saw no one.

Now, I'm used to the mumblings and stompings of his surrounding neighbors, but never have I heard words, and never have they been so close. I was absolutely terrified. When my boyfriend got home I leapt upon him and told him what happened. He checked the window, thinking I heard someone outside, but the window was shut and he's on the very high second floor. Neither of us had any explanation. Lately, though, my normally fairly impervious boyfriend has been seeing movement out of the corner of his eye, and has heard a voice from the bedroom when he's a few feet away. I wonder sometimes if we were never told the real reason they don't allow children on his floor.

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