You think office romances are dangerous? Beware of the high-rise love affair. It’s even more treacherous.
Travis and Taylor have lived across the hall from each other for several years. It’s one of those huge condo high-rises, a mixture of singles, families and senior citizens.
In the beginning, they said hello on their way to the garbage chute or the elevator. Greetings became conversations, and little notes left on the doors evolved into dating. It couldn’t have been more convenient and, furthermore, Travis began to like her a lot.
But he never had any illusions about Taylor.
“I knew she wasn’t that interested in me because she’d talk about other men.” She introduced him to her friends as “the fellow who takes care of my cat when I’m gone.” She insisted on paying for her half of everything. Travis’ friends told him that was a sure sign she wanted to be just friends.
Travis and Taylor both live near the elevators and the walls in their high-rise were paper thin. So if Travis was waiting for the elevator and Taylor was on the phone, he could hear what she was saying through her closed door. And no, he wasn’t above eavesdropping.
“Once she was on the phone after we’d been lovers for about seven months and as I waited for the elevator I heard her say she was going to the lake over the weekend and that there would be a lot of single guys there but they were all too young.”
During another wait —or should I say loiter? — by the elevator, Travis heard her say she was going to a party. So Travis asked her to a movie and she said no without offering a reason. He heard her come home at 2:30.
Of course, he could never come right out and complain. “How could I without letting her know I’d been spying?”
After a few years of off-and-on dating, the worst thing happened. Taylor started seeing another condo owner.
“One night I heard a knock across the hall, looked through my peephole, and saw it was Andy. I waited up and heard him come out of her apartment three hours later.”
Taylor and Andy are still dating. Travis and Taylor aren’t. Travis can’t help but know all about them even though he changed the time he leaves for work to avoid bumping into them in the hall.
“I see them all the time,” he says. “I can hear him knock on her door, I can see them driving home from work in the evening. It’s like they’re rubbing my nose in it.”
He even knows the first time they spent the night together.
“After the knock on her door, I looked through the peephole and I knew he didn’t come out until the next morning. I’m starting to think it might not have been a wise idea to go out with someone across the hall,” Travis understates. “Someone else in the building now interests me, but I haven’t asked her out.”
He’s even considered moving. But until he can sell his condo for what he paid for it, he’s stuck.
Have you ever had a relationship with a neighbor? How did that work out? Send your reply, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new ebook, “Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front.”
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