Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Crazy How Sane I Am

A thin wall of plywood separates the neighbor's garage from mine.  It gives the illusion of privacy, but the truth is, I know when they decide to occupy that space on the other side of the wall. I can hear everything that goes on over there as long as I am standing in my own garage.

I'm not normally a nosey neighbor, but I am privy to those times Yessica  has gotten frustrated with Little Max and Sweet Ana. The children will be banished to the garage for an afternoon where they'll spend their time playing pirates and searching for treasure.

The music of the occasional midnight soiree drifts over to my side, sometimes low and melodic, sometimes booming. Sometimes I'm a forgiving neighbor. Sometimes, not.

I know when Jorge sneaks away from the family for a quick joint. The sickly scent of marijuana cannot be contained to one unit. It permeates my world as well as theirs. Once, I became so frustrated with the assault, I stood in my own garage and boldly announced to the unseen offender that I was allergic to marijuana (which is true). Some scuffling and a muted "Oh shit," could be heard, but I've never again had to suffer second-hand "euphoria."

I am fully aware that my neighbors will always be "in" on whatever I decide to do out there. The truth is, I don't do much more than park the car or search for a screwdriver, but that is beside the point.  I've never had any expectation of privacy in my garage. That is part of life when you have condemned yourself to live in a duplex like me.

This morning, I moseyed into the garage and immediately halted at the sound of soft cries. At first, I thought one of my kids was out there. My heart jumped a little at the idea of one of my little ones being hurt and alone in the corner of a cold, smelly, dark garage. But, silly me, my children aren't small. They are grown, and completely capable of finding their way to the door or screaming for help.

It was Yessica, the neighbor. The mom.

She was having a good old-fashioned cry over there. I recognized it for what it was, because I've done it myself. All women do it. It is as necessary to us as breathing. We need to get a little crazy to preserve our sanity. Men don't understand it, but women get it. I've never had my cry in the garage of course, but maybe this was Yessica's only option for retreat.

I don't know if she'd heard me come into my garage, but she didn't give any indication of it. I wanted to back up and gently close the door, but I was frozen to the spot. I felt like an intruder into what was obviously a private moment. Her soft cries quickly turned to heavy sobs.

My heart went out to her. Should I say something? Should I ask her if something was wrong? Should I call to her to let her know that everything was going to be okay? Would that even be true? Should I at least be decent enough to make a ruckus so she would know I was there?

I was stuck in a moment that was both awkward and heart-breaking. If I reached out to her, would that make me a good neighbor, or a bad one?

Jorge startled me into movement. I heard his booming voice call out to his wife. "Yessica! Where'd you go?"

A few moments passed before she answered. I imagine she needed to compose herself before returning to her loud, demanding husband, who would probably never understand the need for a good old-fashioned cry.


13 comments:

  1. Oh Nessa, I can imagine how helpless you felt. I don't know how I'd have reacted in that situation but I would have probably done the same as you. I hate it when I see sadness and I can't offer comfort

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    1. I think if I'd seen her sitting on a bench, I would have at least offered a tissue, but this was a little too close for comfort.

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  2. I don't know what I would have done in that situation. Proberbly the same as you. I might take too long trying to make up my mind. Very sad to hear another human being so upset.

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    1. It really is sad to hear her upset, but I also hear her laughing and loving life, so it's all good.

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  3. This is so well written, I fear any comment I could offer could not do the situation justice. In the end, I know when I cry, I prefer that no one knows. So that is why I am in the shower, water running full force... usually when the knock arrives that someone needs the bathroom. :)

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    1. I have cried many places. Once I cried in the waiting room at the doctor's office. Awkward.

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  4. That would be awkward. I'd have probably been frozen in place too.

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    1. That makes me feel a little bit better.

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  5. I had a similar situation recently where I heard someone sobbing in a public toilet. Having been in that situation myself in the past and remembering how embarrassing it was having to talk to a stranger who'd enquired how I was I chose to leave it. I don't think there are any right or wrong ways to handle it though. Sometimes you just need to cry and let it all out.

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  6. I can relate to the thin wall scenario as my neighbors are also fond of loud music, occasional too loud arguments and giving me 2nd hand euphoria. I don't think I could have described it as nicely though.

    I hope Yessica feels better after her cry, I usually do. You shared the moment beautifully.

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  7. Replies
    1. weelll...I haven't had time to think about it. I took the test to skip College Algebra altogether, passed with flying colors. Spent the day smiling. Wrote some essays, studied some timelines, ate a bunch of food from the vending machine....

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  8. I would have been glued to the wall. But wanting to reach out to her. Makes me wonder what my neighbors used to hear from our windows when our kids were little and I all too frazzled and much less composed. (Well, still working on the composure part. ;))

    Nessa!! Hope you're well! :)

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