Sunday, March 19, 2006

something different

Once again we turn to Aurielle's blog for an interesting sotry about her batty next door neighbor. Read on:

At the new house the plot of land is small. I'm close enough to my neighbor to see in her window. I imagine she can see in mine as well. I live next door to a little red house with an arched driveway which has never been paved. There's an outdoor shower with a caddy and plastic shower curtain rings but the curtain has long disappeared. (I am praying that she will not employ this shower when the weather warms.)

When I first moved in, I noticed her from time to time peering out her kitchen window at me. I believed that she must be very short, but it turns out her spine is rather curled and if she could straighten out she would be taller than I am.

I would have liked a sweet old lady to bring a loaf of bread to once in a while. Maybe she has quaint old stories, I imagined as I waved cheerily.

I introduced myself after a few days.

"I know your name," she said, "I called." She then warned me about the rest of the residents of our little street, "this one is cold," and, "the one on the corner says the girl who lives with him is an au pair, but I'm not one to judge. They seem pretty close if you know what I mean." "The person on the corner doesn't plow," and "the man at the end claims to be a lawyer, but I think he's shady shady." She proceeded to tell me that one neighbor's baby looks nothing like the father and another one has been recently left left left by her husband. I wondered what she would say about me, and I hoped it was juicy.

"I noticed you don't have a man sleeping over."

"I am just divorced"

"I'm not one to judge."

The next day she yelled at me from her stoop. I walked over, being unable to tell what she was saying. "When I flash my light at you, it means I need something. I've been flashing it two nights in a row, haven't you noticed?"

"No."

"You should be more attentive."

"Come over tomorrow after you take the children to school."

"I have an appointment." (It should be noted that I had to say everything three times before she heard me.)

"After the appointment. Eleven. Be here at eleven."

Eleven O clock the next day I had forgotten and was home. My phone rang. The agent who rented me the house had given her my number. (Thanks.) I hid. But my car was in the driveway. I gathered myself and walked over, knocking quietly hoping that her aging ears would fail her.

"Come in." I stepped over the threshold. "Hurry, it's cold!"

She gave me her children's phone numbers in case she dies or becomes ill. She gave me her doctor's number. She had a bag of bags under her chair which she tried to hand me, she hoped I would get her mail and tie it to her door, but not knock lest I disturb her nap.

She wanted groceries fetched and prescriptions claims and I shouldn't get any ideas because she will not sell her house to me. It's been in her family for years and she is leaving it for her children even though it has two bathrooms and mine has only one.

It's filthy. She wanted the number of my cleaning lady. (I clean my own house, but had dear Nubia before. I could never do that to poor Nubia. I made feeble excuses for her.) It's so dirty, I can't imagine it is safe to eat there, or to walk.

She asked why I am not married anymore. She wanted my ex husband's number, "just in case". She asked what doctor I see in town and wanted his number as well. "You never know," she said, "there are a lot of deer around." I looked puzzled thinking if I developed lyme I could phone my own doctor. But then she added, "they bite, you know. If they are hungry enough, they will chase you and the children and bite you." Deer?

"I saw your new husband on Saturday."

"I don't have a new husband, just the old one."

"So who was here?"

"Um, the old one came for the children."

"I see."

She then told me which type of lettuce she prefers (Bibb or Boston) and not field greens, never iceberg, in case I go to the store for her. She reminded me again of the flashing light.

"When is your boyfriend coming?"

"sorry?"

"I won't tell anyone."

I'm sorry, there's nothing to tell."

"I'm not one to judge." (Clearly.)

I changed the topic again looking at my cell phone and telling her I had to pick up Conrad from school (in an hour). She tried to offer me a drink of water from a glass that might have once been transparent. I reminded her of my son's preschool and tried to think where I might spend the next hour as I would no longer be able to stay home. I made it as far as the door.

"I hope that I didn't embarrass you by suggesting that you have a new lover. It's just that men don't leave wives unless they have other men. They just can't take it. Ego. He must have found you."

I raised my eyes. "No."

"Well, then there must be something else wrong. But I doubt it. Well not to worry. You'll find a new husband soon. You're still pretty. You should hurry though. Don't be sitting around thinking too much."

I wouldn't do that, would I?

I've since been sure not to look at the direction of her house.

She called last night. Her daughter is in town for the weekend from Boston. (Hopefully to pack her up and take her to an assisted living facility.) She wanted me to come over on Saturday night. "I have plans," I said.

"I thought you said you didn't have a lover."

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splendid said...

~ great fodder for writing, pain in the ass to live with ~