It is two AM and no one is helping you move another armful of what appears to be sweaters down to the U-Haul truck. Glare at me all you want, baby, but you reap what you sow.
Sea green doors, bright yellow walls, white highlights … pagodas in a narrow courtyard lit by soft orange light. People come and go here where I live, revolving doors, no surprise living in a military community while others stay for a long time. I observe everyone (and myself) from the balcony or pagoda or water’s edge when it’s not too hot and not too cold ooh baby it’s just right. I observe kindnesses with each other, our plants, our dogs, our stray cats, and the not-so-kind things like when you let the door slam behind you that shakes my apartment. I’ve seen the mixed bag that is humanity, mostly for good, and I try not to dwell on the nuisances.
Since the first day I saw you I knew you as an angry woman. I’m no bubble of joy, so noticing your anger wasn’t hard. I marked you down as Recognized, Noted, Proceed Accordingly. Still, I waved or nodded or tried to make contact with you, as we all did, but you refused basic neighborliness and concern in general. Eyes forward, stomping ingress and egress, always. Every time I saw you walking from the parking lot to your apartment with your (husband?) all I could hear was you berating him and swearing terribly at him while he just looked forward and took it all. He disappeared and there were rumors. All I know is that I don’t see him or the little french bulldogs anymore and your demeanor has not changed. There were many social gatherings here at the apartment and you did not partake but were always welcome. You remained aloof and angry every day of every year I’ve been in your orbit. Just seeing you has been stressful which is not your problem but mine.
This afternoon a U-Haul truck pulled up and I watched as they moved your furniture. I was surprised you let them move most of that in the bathtub-fulls of pouring rain and wind. Later I saw you and said, “Hi. Looks like you’re leaving us?” Question mark, trying to be nice. She fixed a laser-beam gaze on me and said, “YES. I AM,” as if I was the reason for her pain and need to leave. It was an unexpected reaction, it confounded me, and I’m writing it out here now: Hey girl, I’m not the reason for your pain and suffering. We gave you ample opportunity to relate but you kept your door closed. I’ve been watching you for hours move boxes and bags and armfuls of “stuff” and I wonder where did you put it all in these tiny apartments? I can feel your anger in every box you walk out to the truck — by yourself. Where are your family and friends to help you move? I did that when I was a teenager: “I’m going to pack all this MYSELF and I don’t need YOUR HELP and FUCK YOU VERY MUCH. I’m going to take armloads of all my stuff out to the truck all day and night without your help because I don’t need you!!” She saw me on the balcony and gave me that “Fuck you” look again, and I just can’t fathom why, we’ve only had three words between us. The landlord will need to repave the balcony from the venom she’s dripping behind.
I am typically grumpy and crabby but not always angry. At least I am approachable and I will laugh and smile with you. I recognize my demeanor and try to keep it tamped down so I can be socially acceptable in public while at home I fume and steam in the four corners of my room, alone. It works out pretty well. You, lady, are a steam train that cannot be stopped and no one wants to.
I should light a candle for your brokenness. I should let it be water off a seal’s back. I should ask the universe to show you a way to heal and ask it to help you let that shit go. It’s not hard, but all I got now is just, “Good luck wid dat, hating the world. That’s the stuff that gave me chest pains. Maybe someday you’ll figure out you reap what you sow.”