Tears Before Bedtime

Some times real life intrudes on the escape and release and fun that is a vacation (even a working vacation like this one). Not my real life, though there was some interaction with the Fex early on I could have done without (why on earth did she think I would want to see photos on FB from the work gala she went to in NYC, with another guy, where Denis Leary performed, where she met a Broadway star, when in my head, still, I should have been the one accompanying her to such an event? Why, why why?). No, the sort of harsh reality of life I’m referring to came a little while ago from the woman in the casita next door.

We met, if you can call it that, on my first full day here. I went out to check on the hot tub, just in case I wanted to use it, which is behind what I learned is called a coyote fence (lots of these thin-slatted, rough-hewed wooden fences around here, though I have yet to see a coyote). I opened the gate and saw a dog, which immediately began to bark. I closed the gate and began to go back to my place when my neighbor stepped out. She was thin, brunette, 40ish, attractive – hello! But all she said was that she kept her dog out by the hot tub during the day so he could get some sun, and if I wanted to use the tub she could bring him in – no, no, I assured her, it was fine, the dog was fine.

That was it. No exchange of pleasantries, no entrée to the travel fantasies of the hook-up with the convenient single woman next door. That’s OK; I didn’t really come here with any hook-up fantasies. I mean, if that kind of thing hasn’t happened in 50 years, why would it start now? And I’ve been ignored by more women than I can remember, so why should this be different?

As the stay has gone on, I’ve seen neighbor lady pretty regularly. My desk is right by a picture window that looks out onto the courtyard we share. I’ve watched her taking the dog for a walk, coming and going in her car. The only info she offered during our first and last conversation is that she’s living in the casita, for now; she should be moving in a few weeks. And I think I heard her say one day to another guest that she’s a massage therapist. But obviously not a busy one, as her car has been in the lot more often than not.

This morning, while working on my play, I looked up and saw her leave her casita to let the dog into the hot tub area. She was wearing only a robe, with a towel wrapped around what was obviously wet hair. For a flash, the stifled libido of the IMD roared to life: Holy cow – a real woman wearing only a robe! It lasted about three seconds. No hook-up fantasies, remember?

Tonight I saw another side of neighbor lady. Heard, actually. Around 6, I came back from a walk and settled in to check email. It came out of the silence slowly, almost not real at first; maybe it was coming from a TV? And its origin seemed indistinct – from behind my casita? From the left, the right? But as it got louder, I knew the source was her little temporary home, just on the other side of my kitchen.

The crying was so deep, so loud, so painful to hear; I can only imagine what it felt to experience it. Actually, I had some clue: It sounded like what I guess some of my life-draining wails must have sounded like to my neighbors as I endured the first heart-ripping hurts of the IMD. This crying went on for minutes; at times she spoke – spoke; screamed – words, but I couldn’t make them out. But I knew that inflection, that sense of abject loss and wondering out loud, “Why, why me?”

I opened the door to outside, took a few steps on the concrete sidewalk toward her door. As I passed the window before it, I heard a voice, much calmer; a man’s voice. Was he the source of the emotional tidal wave? A friend providing comfort? I don’t know. But at least she wasn’t alone. I turned around and headed back into my casita.

The crying continued. The intensity ebbed and flowed, then finally all the sounds from next door silenced. I was glad. Relieved. I was still curious. I hoped she was  all right.

Tomorrow is my last full day here. If patterns hold, I’ll see my neighbor let her dog into the area surrounded by the coyote fence. Later, she’ll take him for a walk. All I’ll really see under the half-opened shade are her long, thin legs and the easy lope of her pet. (Today’s robed glimpse was an aberration.) I know I’ll want to go out, as if  by happenstance, and say hello. Look for some sign that she is all right. Think about asking how she is, but knowing that would be intruding, since we have no relationship. Just two strangers who are randomly sharing a space for a week. Sharing a wall. And for me, sharing a connection of cries too painful for others to hear.  Real life.

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~ by mburgan on November 9, 2010.

2 Responses to “Tears Before Bedtime”

  1. A friend posted a link on FB today, which is relevant to all of us all the time, but which seemed especially relevant given what you are going through with the IMD as well as what you were an inadvertent witness to with the crying woman. Thought you might enjoy it: http://bravegirlsclub.com/blog/?p=1411

  2. Wow. First of all, thanks for reading; I hadn’t heard from you in a while, and I’ve not been good lately keeping track of the linked blogs here, for which I apologize. Second of all, thanks for a great link. I hope all my loyal readers–all 6 of them–check it out. It made me think of all the different signs my loved ones could have worn at different times, or wear now. And it got me thinking of the metta meditation I referred to a while ago. We need to see how everyone goes through the same things–pain, loss–and everyone, ultimately, wants the same things–positive connections, understanding, love. Thanks so much. And I’m going to Invisible Voices right now…

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