9. Dear Man Over There

Dear Man Over There,

From my desk tucked in behind my wardrobe, I can see your balcony – which is almost as big as my shoebox apartment.

I can see all the balconies of all the apartments on this side of your building.

Robinson Crusoe island

Did you know, Man, that you are the only inhabitant of your enormous tenement?

I thought I should let you know.

Do you never wonder why you never meet anyone in the lift?

Never pass anyone in the hall, or nod hello to someone as they walk past you when you’re fumbling your key in the lock?

No banter about “Hey, you’re going to the ground floor? Me too.”

You never meet anyone at the letter boxes to complain about the junk mail.

– which makes me wonder is the junk mail piling up in all those letter boxes? –

Does the postman bother reading the envelopes, or does he just put all the mail in your box?

The sole inhabitant of your beautiful new building, you are to me a Robinson Crusoe with your feet up on the rail of your balcony.

For a moment last week I thought you had neighbours – but then I realised that the owners have furnished two of the second floor apartments in wan hope of more castaways.

You yet remain marooned alone with your magnificent view of the rear windows of my building’s shoebox apartments.

I remain,

your gawking neighbour,


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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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