Mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Not only did that feel right, but it made a lot of sense, more sense than a lot of that other bible stuff I heard when I was a kid. But that doesn’t shut me up, now, does it?
I went to bed really early last night because I couldn’t take anything anymore. I just had it up to here with everything I saw, read, or felt. I got naked and curled up under super soft sheets and blankets and waited for the rain to come. I coached my muscles to unclench from brow to shoulder to abdomen, calves and toes. I let it all go and waited for the rain to come as the weather channel promised. And then the booming began.
My downstairs neighbor is an angry woman. There is no rhyme or reason for her angry. I’ve tried to figure out if it happens on weekdays or weekends, Mondays, Fridays, Wednesdays. There seems to be no rhythm to it, so I just have to go along with it. When she’s home she stands out in the courtyard and yells at her workers on the phone. Sometimes she bangs on the neighbor’s door to come over and drink, but he doesn’t live here anymore. Meanwhile, I sit in my home, table by the window and door, reading or typing quietly in the dark when suddenly the whole front of my apartment BOOMS and vibrates because she’s home and slams the door, murdering her life. I jump because I startle easy. Sometimes I get annoyed and sometimes I ignore it. On the advice of a friend I slam a pillow down on the floor to let my aggravation out, and it helps. Sometimes.
Last night I needed refuge, but all I could hear was her slamming and banging of things, and the actual stomping of her feet across the floor. You know that’s gotta be loud when *I* can hear it. You know when you’re angry you thrust things down or away with a vengeance? Every footstep smites your foe, every door slam is a guillotine death to your enemy? Oh, I know that door slam. It’s what you do when you can’t kill with your bare hands and need to get away with it. I’m glad she lives alone, no children or spouse or pets to abuse. She kills her pain in other ways. I only wish I didn’t have to bear it. But then I chose not to bear it anymore, last night, and I let her anger go. I let her slamming and banging go because it has no place in bed with me. The sky turned orange and I knew the rain was coming.
This morning we seemed to have awoken at the same time, early. I felt an extra sense of gratitude because the sky was gray and it was raining. I lit candles and got to work. The wind was surprising, like a mini-hurricane, and it scared me a little, but the power didn’t go out. And then her front door slammed, twice, like she didn’t kill her life hard enough the first time. I watched her go out to her car so I said, barefoot from the balcony, “Hey! Have a nice day!” in my most sarcastic way but she didn’t hear me. I am ready to get into it with her, and I won’t miss her when she’s gone, as I know she’s just here waiting for her apartment to be repaired from the hurricane so she can live on the top floor once again. I am angry, now and so is she.
If I was any kind of woman, mature, on this day, the International Day of the Woman, if I was any kind of decent, I would reach out and offer friendship. I know what it’s like to be an angry woman. To feel like you’re a fake in the face of everything, wanting to kill and break everything, to feel the satisfaction of glasses shattering on the wall. Oh the satisfaction. Murder is illegal but slamming doors and getting drunk and being cruel is just a side effect, deal with it. But I can’t offer friendship to a person that I know is toxic, and she’s not ready to breathe. I feel sorry for her as often as I feel frustrated with her intrusion on my peace. But then… I let her intrude on my peace.
On this International Day of the Woman I examine many things. This morning, it is how I deal with an angry woman who lives downstairs who sometimes makes me annoyed. Mom said if I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, and although I agree with her, I also feel I have to share how anger makes me feel. I wonder if it will make a difference.