After lunch, she drinks two bottles of wine and some scotch and then decides, that the new young woman who just moved in to the apartment in which the previous owner had died, is the daughter of her former lover. Skillfully handled, we see Louise drink to the point that she is unafraid to approach the new neighbor and proceeds to tell Sara, the new neighbor, that she could be her mother. "'You could be my daughter,' Louise said." When Louise saw her son off to work and that he blended into the crowd, she'd felt comforted but when she met the new neighbor, she thought, "She was beautiful, as far from the middle as Louise's son was near it."
Louise in her late fifties to early sixties had been unfaithful to her husband and feared that the child she was carrying was her lover's child. Guilt, alcoholism, destiny and infidelity are woven into a story that shows a middle-aged woman succumb to her guilt and hatred of her husband of many years. She was pregnant, about to give birth, when she learned that her husband, Martin, had no compunction about leaving a small child, the neighbor's child, alone in an apartment because he was tired and didn't feel like babysitting. Louise made excuses for his working long hours and not being at home. She also has a convoluted idea that imagining the worse will keep it from happening.
This paragraph brings Louise's life to clear view. "Sara smiled, and in the smile Louise, even drunk, located judgment. This was how Jonas looked at her; Martin, too. The same sad eyes, the narrow, thin-lipped smile. They pitied her, thought she was ridiculous, incapable, unwell. She hated them all. 'A woman died here, she said.'" And, we could say that Louise died as well. She's been dying for a long time and instead of trying to understand her, Louise's family pities her. How dare she be weak and human!
The story is subtle and needs to be read more than once to capture the nuances of behavior and emotions not only of Louise stuffing down her emotions with alcohol but also that of Martin and Jonas. “The Apartment” is a well-written story illuminating the heavy price a person pays for long-term guilt and the detriment of a loveless, hate-filled marriage.