F'd Up Neighbors I Have Had: A Story in Infinite Parts
I've already written about some of them--Bob, of course, and Sam, and R. Oh, and we can't forget Alan (all these stories tagged, cleverly enough, 'neighbors.'). But my Memory Lane crosses many courts, roads, and circles, so I thought I'd add a couple more:
1. From the time I was 10 until I graduated from high school, my family lived on Forest Hill Road in Powder Springs. Kitty-cornered to the right, across the street, lived an older couple and their middle-aged son, Tommy. He must have been in his early thirties. Tommy liked to do things to get the EMT's to come--overdose on baby aspirin or cut the grass in August while wearing wool pants, three flannel shirts, and a parka. But the very best thing about Tommy was that he'd tape his parents' nasty fights, set the stereo speakers against the open windows, and blast the recordings for everyone to hear. Once you got over the initial panic and realized it wasn't live, it was quite entertaining.
2. When I was 18 or 19, I moved into the yellow house in Athens. I would always hear the most beautiful, haunting piano music coming from the attic window in the house across the street. Eventually I met the virtuoso behind the melodies, Clark, another thirtyish fellow who lived with his mother, or so he said; I never actually saw the lady. Clark's hair was the color of cornsilk and he was as soft-spoken as a funeral usher. He seemed to have stepped right out of a VC Andrews novel. As it happened, he was always leaving the house at the same time I did, so often he'd walk beside me, making small talk. During these conversations I might have mentioned a writing class I was taking or that I was training for a marathon. Then one day, just as I hit the sidewalk for a run, he stepped into formation beside me, in brand new nylon shorts and singlet. Who knew he'd taken up jogging?!
Clark: Mind if I run with you?
TR: Well, I'm doing a long one today, Clark--ten miles...
Clark: That's fine.
TR: I'm really slow, too. I'm sure you'd rather go at your own pace.
(Clark ignores that suggestion and stays in lock-step. We canter along in silence until we're a couple of miles out.)
Clark: I've been working on a novel, you know.
TR: Oh, you're a writer now?
Clark: It's based on my real life.
TR: Fascinating, I'm sure.
Clark: I'm calling it Lucifer.
(By this point, because my intended destination was the botanical gardens, we're in an area where the houses are fewer and farther between. I begin to weigh my route-change options.)
TR: That's pretty funny, Clark.
Clark: There's nothing funny about it.
TR: Holy crap! I forgot I promised Hossain I'd work his shift tonight. I need to turn back.
Clark: I saw who brought you home this morning, and it wasn't your boyfriend.
TR: I don't have a boyfriend, Clark. We broke up. It's none of your business, anyway.
And this was the first in a long line of stalkers...