A cool breeze blowing in from the sea was such a relief after the sweltering heat of the day.
He was on the terrace all by himself until he heard footsteps behind him.
“What? Who is it?”
“Not to worry, mate. I heard noises up here and wanted to make certain everything was in order.”
It was a girl. Must have been in mid-forties.
She stood by his side. An amiable face, looking amused. The perfume…was it jasmine?
“I found they rent apartments here for such ridiculous money. It is crazy. Hope they didn’t rip you off.”
“Have I seen you before, lady? I moved into 21A yesterday and I hardly know anyone around here.”
“Just down the hall from you. 29B. You know, had I children, they would all be older than you now.”
Her hand was resting on his thigh. They sat in silence. The moon had risen. “Sometimes I wish I could step off the edge over there and just float like a leaf to the bottom.”
“A poetic image, lady.”
She looked down into his eyes and smiled sadly. “It is much too late for poetry.”
She stood up and walked away. At the parapet, where a low ceramic tile-topped wall bounded the edge of the roof, she stopped. “It has been a long time since I knew a man,” she said.
“Let’s go down to my room. They don’t bother you here”
It was past midnight when he returned to his apartment, sneaking in like a cat that overstayed on the outside. No one saw him coming out of 29B. He was mindful not doing anything to sully the reputation of the lady. Even the clicking of the doors closing and opening was carefully soft and muted.
No one was answering. Gray morning light was filtering through the dirty hall windows.
“What’re you pounding on that door for?” It was the building manager.
Showing a mild irritation, “Why, my friend in there.”
“Can’t keep it rented, even with the housing shortage in this damn town. Tenants always move out after the first week or two. Nobody’s lived in that apartment for months, lady. ”
Source: Inspired by and adapted from Mendel Cooper’s (quora.com/What-are-some-good-ghost-stories-to-tell-friends) ‘New York Has Some Characters’.