Donnerstag, 10. Dezember 2009

The other side of the fence

Henry always says that I'm terribly curious. And a gossip. But that simply ain't true! Well, you know I just like to be informed about what is going on in the neighbourhood. We have been living here for more than thirty years! All these people coming and going, falling in love, cheating on each other - I don't need that stupid television! Ha!

When we were younger and moved here, everything was tidier, of course. The people were different. White picket fences everywhere, literally! But then they started moving away or dying - oh, that dreadful Mrs. Pringle! You think anyone showed up at her funeral? Well, of course WE went. "Henry", I told him, "Henry, we have to go." And of course he didn't want to, but... that's a different story. Now, where was I? Oh, yes.

Over the years younger people moved in, and some were very nice. Others... well, you can't choose your neighbours. I know that. But I wish... One or two times we een had the police around, and two years ago Mr. Hutchkins was shot in his own living room! You wouldn't believe it.

A few months back there was this new family. They bought the house next to ours - at least I think they bought it. They never talk to anyone. Very charming young man. Works as a mechanic somewhere downtown. And a lovely wife and son! Well, I was worried the first time I saw her outside in the garden with a black eye - our gardens meet, you see the fence? - but Henry said I shouldn't worry about other people's personal business. He thinks I am overreacting most of the time. He doesn't want to know about anything that is not in his precious newspaper. Heavens, when did he become so boring?

The woman was very quiet and you hardly ever noticed her at all. But I am good at spotting people. Once I almost ran her over in our old volvo at the supermarket. It wasn't my fault, she simply stood behind the car! I doubt she is very intelligent. But she takes good care of their child.

Several times I saw her with black eyes or bruises, and one day she was limping so bad on her way from the supermarket back home that I offered to give her a ride, but she refused. Henry laughed at me when I told him I had to talk to the officials. "Maybe she just fell? You can't go around telling the police some stranger hits his wife or something! At best they'll make fun of you! Don't get them in trouble, dearie, please." So I left it at that.

Come to think of it... I haven't seen her in at least a week, and the child seems to be at home all the time. Poor tiny creature, with his dirty trousers... I wonder where the woman has gone? Maybe something happened to her? Oh no, I can hear Henry laughing already, and I haven't even told him! He is right, I've got an overactive imagination. I guess the woman simply went out of town to visit some relatives. I'd better go inside and fix dinner.


Anonym hat gesagt…

Sometimes, nosy is better.

Well written. I liked the perspective of the nosy neighbor seeing something legitimately wrong and not acting because her husband's ridicule makes her doubt her instincts.

Nicely done. :)

A Writer hat gesagt…

This was fantastic, like I was having coffee with the narrator. I liked the informal tone for sure.

Anonym hat gesagt…

Yeah jdanetyler, that was subtle!

She's being mentally denigrated by her husband, while observing physical abuse next door.

Good piece.

John Wiswell hat gesagt…

jdanetyler nailed my feelings, too. It was horrible to realize what was going on. Mildly amusing to reflect on the different negative effects the husbands had on their wives, but the big thing I came away from this with was sadness for the neighbor. Poor lady.

mazzz_in_Leeds hat gesagt…

Cleverly done!
Like Carrie said, I felt like I was having a cup of tea with her

Anonym hat gesagt…

I guess sometimes we do need more busy-body neighbors. How often do we hear some horrible story of abuse and wonder why no one did anything about it? Hmmm, anyway, you've given a lot to think about here and I got completely caught up in the story. The narrator's voice works really well. On a minor note: In the third paragraph, the word even is missing an "e." Thanks for sharing this! ~Olivia

Linda hat gesagt…

Great voice. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, both dehumanizing. Super story. Peace, Linda

Michelle hat gesagt…

great perspective here. really got drawn into the story.

Deanna Schrayer hat gesagt…

Great choice of voice and tone for this tale. Very well-written.