Where have I been? How could words not have been pouring out from within? Does shell-shocked excuse me? Because I truly believe that’s what I had been up until maybe a year ago.
Lost in a new world, foreign and alienating on the one hand, yet relaxing and homey on the other. 2016. Moving, climate change — and not in the scientific sense — plus abhorrent neighbor to boot. I froze the first time I heard John yelling out and cussing the neighbors. What fresh hell had I entered? Our manufactured home had a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood, but thank you very much, no one had told us about the lunatic behind us.
John hated barking dogs. He called our site manager the effin c word. He confessed he wanted to throat punch her, set her house on fire. Oh holy eff. Whatever had we gotten in to? My husband was nicer than I was to John. Jim would hear John out. Let him grouse & bitch & grumble. Me? I dreaded returning home & seeing John on his porch. I’d say a quick hello or goodnight & duck into the house.
Though I have been in the company of those with mental illness, my sensibilities set off alarm bells. Afterall, John admitted to teasing “retards” in school and still laughed about it like it wasn’t egregiously wrong. His hollering out and cussing out people and barking dogs in our vicinity was very unsettling. I knew our turn was coming.
Sure enough, after getting a new heat pump installed at our home, John went bizerko over its noise that summer of 2017. Yet the new pump was quieter than the old! John slammed doors, cussed and then on my husband’s and my 34th anniversary, cranked up his stereo louder than he ever had before. Jim & I left to enjoy some semblance of peace in a dinner for two, and in the meanwhile, an officer confronted John about the stereo, even saying his ears were still ringing.
John was chastined after that. He finally took inventory and realized he couldn’t afford to be evicted. $515 was pretty damned good for monthly rent. And yet, I think John missed his outlet for cussing and calling out people. He was stymied. Someone had finally called his bluff. John, who had been abusive and neglectful to his own mother, had finally been put on notice.
He died on February 10th of 2018. I wonder still if it wasn’t some form of suicide. Without being able to cause havoc in our hilltop burb, John no longer had purpose. I think he quit taking care of himself
It took me over a year to register the door closing next door and not being jumpy that it was John. We’ve had super new neighbors whose grandfather helped buy & fix up the place (and grandpa & grandma are our across the street neighbor). The couple who now occupy John’s house are young and in their early twenties. Oh my gad, you would hardly kmow they’re there! How sweetly things have changed. I felt like I was a prisoner in our new home in that I hated having to encounter John whenever we went out the back door. Now, no fears!
And these days, a whitish dove sits on the antenna of that house, perching there often. She is a symbol of peace. Her partner and she have been gathering twigs for a nest. How nicely things have changed in two and a half year’s time.