Tok-Tok

The knocking sound began as a merely annoying occurrence, but it rapidly escalated to being entirely infuriating. I knew how it was happening. The man who stayed in the attic would, every night at 11, check his floor to make sure it wouldn’t collapse anytime soon. So he would kneel down in one corner of the attic, put his ear to the floor, and knock twice. Tok-tok. Then he would move sideways two feet, and repeat. Tok-tok. He would move through the entire attic in an anti-clockwise direction, covering the whole room in concentric rectangles. When he reached the centre of the room and did his final tok-tok, he would go ‘Phew’, which made me laugh the first couple of times.

In the morning, when we gathered for breakfast, he would give me a wink and say, “So the sky didn’t fall on you last night. Lucky you.” Every. Day.

I took to covering my ears with pillows, but I could still hear the sound, muffled though it was. So I complained to the landlord, and that night, the sound stopped. For the next few days, the man from the attic wouldn’t even look at me during breakfast.

Finally, when I was entirely sure he wouldn’t be doing it again, I asked him how come he had stopped so easily.

He gave me a sullen look. “If you don’t care if the sky falls on your head, why should I?” he said.