Monday, February 02, 2009

next door

The desert cabin was a duplex and each night for four nights we had different neighbors.  Each night after a long day out in the sun we'd drive up and notice a new car, my heart sinking a bit each time. Privacy, see.  It's privacy. Privacy means we have a secret, a secret to ourselves.  But no matter, we still had neighbors.  Privacy laughs in my face and hitches up her skirt.

The first night we walked up and there was a little party on our shared porch.  Our neighbors and their friends had settled in on the tiny landing with drinks and tables and chairs.  These folks were drinkers, they were into the hard stuff early and were having a great time.  Drunk retired people make for good neighbors, they share their beer and laugh really loud.  The women automatically start to mother you and you like that a little bit.

The second night the man stayed there alone, he seemed to be on a mission, taking pictures of everything and carrying a really big pack.  We didn't speak much and there were no beers on the porch that night.  I daydreamed that he was a semi-famous photographer, a recluse.  In truth he probably sold life insurance. But maybe not.

We met a couple struggling with their bags on the third night.  They were cordial enough and we were in a rush. We were hot and dusty and needed a beer.  Later that night the walls almost shook, they were fighting in a way that saddened us both so much that we turned the music up loud.  I could hear her screaming at him about an affair I'm not the one who had an affair you bastard and him responding more quietly but no less angry.  At one point the door slammed and I heard the car leave.  We tried to compensate the universe, as if somehow declaring our love, no matter how rocky it can be sometimes might counterbalance the suffering through the walls. The car was still gone when we woke up.  In the morning she was on the porch alone, she had a book and I wanted to say something hopeful but words failed me.  Sometimes there aren't any words. It's wrong to feel blessed in the face of another's tragedy, selfish somehow. Yet I feel blessed.

The last night was shared with an older couple riding motorcycles.  These folks were rocking, with their leathers and their jeans and their white hair gunning their engines when they pulled into their parking space.  They were cool, these last folks.  As they went into their side of the cabin I pictured their love lasting a lifetime, a mutual pursuit of adventure and acceptance, one that has bound them together until now.  A love strong enough to erase the suffering of the night before.  

Bookmark and Share

21 comments:

ewe are here said...

wow. What a strange position to be in, rotating 'neighbors'. Sounds like the makings of a short story...

hypoglycemiagirl said...

Sounds like a nice adventure despite the fighting couple!

Amy said...

What a fascinating view of humanity. Thanks for sharing it!

crazymumma said...

privacy can be a real slut.

what a great picture you gave us. It felt like a book of short stories.

patches said...

Sometimes you feel embraced by the moment of others, and other times you feel like your existence has intruded upon them.

Kyla said...

The human experience is so varied, moment by moment. Sounds like you've had a parade of it living next door to you.

QT said...

Its like you got to see all sides over the course of just a few days. Wow.

Amber said...

Wow, that's quite a parade of neighbors you've had. And you write about them all so eloquently.

Also, I don't think there's anything wrong with viewing the struggles of others as a reminder not to take anything for granted. I think it's only a problem when it causes you to think that you're somehow better, instead of just luckier in that moment. Anyhow, I hope that the fighting couple comes to a better place soon, whatever that looks like for them.

kristen said...

i love this post, a full circle.

kristen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

I always find that there's nothing quite like the reminder that not everyone is as happily wed as us to really make me appreciate my poor long-suffering husband - although marital bliss DOES leave me breath-takingly short of things to hiss at him in fury during spats....

meno said...

It's so sad to hear other people in their worst moments.

liv said...

you know? even i hate to hear myself in my worst moments. i'd really hate to hear what others might hear if they heard me. kwim?

painted maypole said...

fascinating

thailandchani said...

It all sounds very interesting... without the arguing neighbors, of course.


~*

bgirl said...

it was as if you experienced a generation of relationships with all the unknowns and sometimes unwanted variables they bring. so many roads, so many roads. sounds like you are on the one that leads you home.

thinking of you all.
b

carrie said...

I feel like I am right there with you, and all these colorful characters.

Thank you.

(you know this would make a great book, right?)

Indigo said...

There are alot of lessons in the life around us. What poignant realities of each of these neighbors. In the end the last brought it around full circle. (Hugs)Indigo

mommyknows said...

I love people watching! Pleased as can be that you enabled me to 'people watch' from the comfort of my sofa.

How much longer are you staying?

monkey said...

i've been reading your for a long long while. your words are like a comfortable blanket in winter and i always look forward to you. this post, for some reason, really got me today. the glimpses of these people who pass through our lives and then are gone. their stories, seeping through the paint on the walls, separating us and pulling us together. the invisible ties that bind us together as humans as we share space, even if unintentionally.
i'm talking in circles. but i felt i should somehow respond, let you know how my little world over here in los angeles is affected by your world.
thank you.
~krista

Janet said...

When we were first married there was a young couple who lived in the apartment across the hall. In person they were quietly friendly. Behind the door of their apartment they had the worst fights I had ever heard in my life. It was tragic to witness.