Over the years, I’ve often wondered what the people surrounding me knew or thought they knew about my situation. Especially in the early years, when things were always happening and whatever was happening was always…loud.
In our first apartment, my landlord lived downstairs from us, and the floor, ceiling, walls were…thin! They once called and asked me to lower the radio because it was too loud. I was always conscious of the level of noise and the music was nowhere near loud but my living room was over their bedroom so I could understand that any noise is accentuated while you are trying to sleep.
We were a young couple, 18 and 23, our landlords being probably mid 30’s at the time. So I’m sure they had their own opinions. They argued too but nothing remotely near what was going on upstairs.
There were many neighbors on the block that we lived but we didn’t really mingle with any of them. Most of our friends were work related or people I knew forever. He didn’t keep many friends. Over the 4 to 5 year span of us living there, the number of my friends started to dwindle, which is what happens with these types of relationships.
As I had mentioned in my post, Refreshed & Ready, I have been thinking about this story [of my life] and telling it from a different perspective. This style is a far less accurate account being as it’s what I presume people may have been saying about me.
Many times in the past 25 years, I have walked down the streets where I’ve lived and passed by my neighbors with a polite, bright eyed greeting such as, “Good morning.” or “Hi, how are you?” Always with just as polite a response back to me.
We’ve lived in our current home now for 17 years. And although the physical issues have truly lessened since the first half of the marriage, the verbal abuse has always been loud and proud. In fact, he has always said – during our arguments – he gets louder on purpose so when I walk out of my house I can be embarrassed. What he never realized is that…I never was. I have no idea why, but I held my head up and acted like there was no issue. To those I would speak to, sometimes I’d add in a joke (if the topic allowed) and would mention how he would argue over anything (never alluding to abuse – just in his being an idiot) or how he is so loud “As I’m sure you can all hear.”, followed by a hearty bout of laughter.
What I’ve always wondered though, is what do they say about me when I walk away from that greeting or that quick and witty conversation? This is what I imagine…
Female Neighbor 1: They argue all the time. I hear her husband screaming at the top of his lungs almost every day.
Female Neighbor 2: I know. I always here him as I pass by coming home from work. I’m pretty sure he hits her.
Female Neighbor 1: Definitely. He sounds like a psycho. I wouldn’t doubt it.
Female Neighbor 2: Yeah. For sure. I’ve even heard him screaming how he’ll kill her “if”…whatever they may be arguing about that particular day. I usually hear him say she didn’t clean or water the plants.
Female Neighbor 1: Who would stay married to a person like that? If my husband ever spoke to me like that I’d be getting a divorce! Let alone if he actually laid a hand on me!! Forget it. I’d be arrested for sure.
Female Neighbor 2: I know, right. Everyone argues but they’re the only people I can hear clearly from down the block. I feel bad for her but she must love him or something because she’s still there.
Female Neighbor 1: Either that or she’s just stupid. Why would you want to be around someone like that? My son went to school with their oldest daughter. She’s really a smart kid.
Female Neighbor 2: All their kids are smart from what I hear and they’re really so well behaved.
Female Neighbor 1: Who wouldn’t be with a father like that?
Female Neighbor 2: That’s true.
Female Neighbor 1: I’m surprised she even talks to anyone on the block. I’d be embarrassed it I was her. She has to know we hear what goes on.
Female Neighbor 2: Of course she knows. I would never let on that I’ve heard anything though. That’s not my business.
Female Neighbor 1: My husband has mentioned hearing him and says if he ever saw him yelling at her in public he’d punch him in the face. I tell him he better not. That’s none of our concern.
Female Neighbor 2: Exactly. Especially if he hits her. If she wants to be with a man like that…let her. She obviously likes it. She’s still there.
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I’m sure someone somewhere has said some portion of this conversation at some point in time. To those people I say…thank you. I appreciate your help.
To read from the beginning… my story starts here.