illustration by Jul Yan Espeleta
Every night he hears the songs from the apartment beside him. They’re not all the same, some nights it’s a quiet melody, almost like a love song. Other nights it’s a loud aria. But it’s always the same voice. Her voice.
5E, he always wished he was brave enough to knock that door and see for himself. Dax tried to imagine what she looked like, though the only descriptions he could ever get from his neighbors weren’t helpful.
Lola Anding who lived in the building the longest said the woman had long hair, though she only ever saw it from the back. “She never liked to small talk with the rest of us, though I don’t blame her.” Lola Anding smiled “I remember when she moved in, all the young men would go to her door and bother her all day and night. Most of them left the building after she wouldn’t answer them. “
He asked Jaime, who lived a floor above if there was anything he could tell him about the woman.
“Don’t bother. I tried too.” Was all he told Dax.
Nadine had more to say. She lived in the unit across Dax and liked to gossip. “She’s rich or feeling rich. The few times I saw her she would have really expensive jewelry around her neck, gold and diamonds. It’s probably fake, Tito Deng on the 3 rd floor said she told him that she worked as a guard! I don’t know who she’s trying to fool. She probably works as an escort.”
The last person Dax talked to was Alfonso. He only spent his time in the building, especially after his brother went missing. “She’s beautiful.” Alfonso’s voice was cold. “That’s what Kuya told me. He always tried to bring her flowers, but she never opened the door for him. I think he was in love with her, but she never even noticed him.”
Dax tried to draw her. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine her beauty. Her hair flowed like a waterfall gently falling over her shoulders. Her hands moved through it, like shooting stars across the night sky. He thought of her walk, when the wind would move to guide her way. Her smile, her lips, her nose were perfect, almost as if they were made to make his heart pause. Dax finished his sketch and dropped his pencil. He didn’t know why he drew her eyes with such cruelty, she stared at him with a look that reminded him of envy.
That night he stood across the door to apartment 5E and told himself it was time to try. Dax knocked on the door and was prepared to wait in silence.
That is, until the door opened.