The original version of “The Neighbor” was published in the author’s collection, Zoo, copyright 2006 by Editions P.O.L.
At the Dakota, my life was peaceful.
I had inherited the apartment from my father’s sister, along with a modest sum of money. Living at the Dakota carries with it certain obligations. When the co-op decides, for example, to renovate the basement, you’d better be able to pay your share.
Until then, I had always lived with my mother in a little village in the west of France. I was a furniture maker, I had my own workshop, and everything was going well. I’d led an idyllic childhood with my widowed mother, and I would have been satisfied to continue just as I was. My mother admired my work, above all the delicately inlaid little chests. The prospect of my leaving made her very angry. She used to hate her American sister-in-law.
But I couldn’t resist the lure of the Dakota. My aunt’s death literally changed my life. I gave up my work and crossed the Atlantic, and my main activity ever since has consisted of living at the Dakota. READ MORE…