To the New Resident

Alisa Hall

February 2, 2017

To the New Resident,       

 Trash pickup is on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Kindly do not wait until Thursday to remove your trash can from the curb. If you need assistance, I am happy to oblige. 

Feb 3

Dear Neighbor,

Your offer didn’t come with a name. Now I’m forced to leave the can out longer, with this note stuck to the lid. Does the cotton candy scented paper help with the stench?

Who are you? And no, I don’t need help. 

Your capable new neighbor, 


February 4, 2017


My name is Oliver and I live next door. Thank you for removing your trash can. 

Feb 5

Dear Oliver, 

The transition to the mailbox is better, but you didn’t have to add the stamp. Though something tells me you’re a stickler for the rules. To return in kind—and to save the planet—I’ve reused the same envelope. That’s called killing two letters with one stamp. 

Now, onto awkward things. Your nightly cello playing is keeping my cat awake. Ah, you’re surprised we can hear you! Well Oliver, it drifts on the winter breeze and though lovely, I’d appreciate quiet by 9 p.m. Just like the garbage company, Kit Kat and I run on a schedule.  

Your tired neighbor,


February 6, 2017


I hate to break it to you, but your cat is a night owl who terrorizes my dog. Wolfgang does not appreciate the 1 a.m. wake-up. 

The evening cello concerts will cease. 


Feb 7

Dear Oliver,

Wolfgang… I get it. Dog. Wolf. Mozart. 

I was rude in my last letter. I realized that last night while trying to fall asleep to the sound of silence—and not the Simon and Garfunkel kind. Please keep playing.

Mrs. D’Azzo—you know, our neighbor who owns a restaurant—says you are an assistant professor of cello. I’m a teacher too. I have eighteen rambunctious kindergarteners who love music. Would you consider a demonstration? FYI, one will cry and three will tell you about their pets. I’ll owe you one. 

Your hopeful neighbor, 


P.S. Kit Kat will receive a talking to for the terrorizing.

Feb 8, 2017


My kindergarten teacher introduced me to string music. I would not be where I am today without her. I will gladly play for your class. 


February 15, 2017


This is the second time I am apologizing to you. The first instance was on our date, when I apologized for the rude note I left on your trash can. Now, I am sorry about the date. No, that came out wrong. I am sorry for the way I acted

After the demonstration at your school, when you insisted you owed me, I suggested dinner at D’Azzo’s and picked Tuesday without knowing the date (which proved how nervous I was). When I realized you loathed Valentine’s Day, I felt bad. No doubt my presence was henceforth sour. Can we try again? Preferably not on a day stolen by consumerism

Saturday night at 7, I have two tickets for a string quartet concert: Selections of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Come with me? 


Feb 16

Dear Oliver, 

I’m the one who needs to apologize! I don’t hate Valentine’s Day! As an overly sympathetic person, I assumed you didn’t check the calendar. Words like consumerism and social constructs spewed from my mouth because I didn’t want you to feel pressure by accidentally picking February 14 as a first date. But it went too far. Please forgive me. 

I would love to go to the concert. Bring on the fortes and crescendos and mezzo-somethings. Can you tell I know nothing about classical music? The only song I know is dun dun dun dunnnn (title?). It’s embarrassing to admit, but I had to look up the name Wolfgang.

No longer overly sympathetic,


P.S. Those garlic knots were delicious, and you didn’t have to pay for the meal. I owe you, remember?

P.P.S. For the concert, I’ll sneak two boxes of candy hearts in my purse. 

February 16, 2017


Symphony No. 5 in C minor (or Beethoven’s 5th) and all is forgiven. Pick you up at 6. 

Can’t wait, 


June 12, 2018


It’s been a while since I’ve penned you a letter. The result of seeing you every day. Last night, when you slept on the couch, I kissed you goodbye and said three words. I know you heard me because you smiled, then pretended to fall back asleep. You even faked a snore. 

So, I will write it down this time. After all, I fell for you through letters. I love you, Jess.



Feb 5, 2019

Dearest Ollie,

Who knew wedding vows would be difficult to write? How does one cram all their love into a single letter? My promises went a tad over the top. Turns out I can’t actually give you the moon—or is that a man’s vow to a woman? Either way, physics won’t allow it.

Have you finished writing yours yet? Considering our history, this should be a breeze. But the only line I like so far is: Oh man, do I love this man! 

Forever yours,


February 13, 2023

Sweet Jess,

Can you please remember to take those last-minute diapers to the outside trash can? Wednesdays before work, I roll the can to the curb. Pickup is 10 a.m.

Your loving husband, 


Feb 14, 2023

Dearest Ollie, 

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you surprised to get this note in your lunch bag? I hope the cotton candy scented paper doesn’t distract from your sandwich. Don’t forget to save your appetite for D’Azzo’s and those garlic knots. The babysitter arrives at 6. 

And when you actually change one of Johann’s stinky diapers, then we’ll talk about the trash schedule. 

Until then,

Your loving Jess


Alisa Hall
Alisa Hall writes deep-fried contemporary fiction. A Midwest native, she now enjoys life in Tennessee where “y’all” has slipped into her vocabulary as she researches her Southern stories. Along with her passion for writing, she is an artist and holds a degree in Character Animation, a blend of both creative worlds.

Connect with Alisa on her website and Instagram.