Dear Neighbor

9 Jan

Dear Neighbor,

I heard you last night. “Again…” you said. It was a groan. A disdainful, loud groan that vibrated through the walls and landed in my ear drum. And in that minute, I was thinking it, too.

Again? How can she be awake again? It’s three nights in a row. My heart can’t take being awaken by cries. I panic every time.

I thought it, but not in that tone. No, never in that tone. My again was more like a whimper, a defeated whimper uttered by all those who climb to high altitudes, but are too sick and tired to reach the summit. 

I was shaken from dead sleep. I was awake at 4 AM. Again.

And you, apparently, were, too. And you growled out your aggravation through the wall. The wall we share. The one I own and you lease. Yes, one of us can move at any time. I’m not going to suggest who. That’s snobby. And un-neighborly. And after all, you’ve only just moved in…

But I’m getting distracted from what I wanted to tell you. And that is while I have utmost empathy for your disturbed sleep, my sympathy is none. What I sympathize is that day–a year, perhaps many more–from now when you will be walking the floor in the darkness, heart pounding in your chest, adrenaline sent rushing at the sound of anguished cries; you guessing at the cause, with no shared language between you and your loved one that can help you understand.

On that night, when your child’s wails pierce the quiet of your serene suburban street, you are going to remember a time when other people’s children were annoying at best, and you growled your intolerance so that their parents could hear. You will remember when the freedom of your life circumstances allowed you to be so self-focused. And your child, whom you are so in love with it hurts, is going to keep crying. and you’re going to feel like an ass.

I know. I’ve been there. I was once an intolerant, childless ass, too.  So, until that time where you are forced to move from child-hating-grouch to infatuated-parent, let’s both try and get some sleep. and while we;re at it, let’s cut each other some slack when the bumps, knocks–and even screeches-of attached living remind us that we’re not in this world alone.




3 Responses to “Dear Neighbor”

  1. Julie Pippert January 16, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    Oh this is beautifully written true frustration-expressed brilliance. Yeah, been on both sides, yeah know what you mean, yeah am glad I do not have shared walls, but oh if we did, how I know we’d need to get and give understanding.

  2. Kirsten Geyer January 24, 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    Oh, so true!! What childless asses we were, huh? Perhaps you could tack on a bit more rent for his/her intolerence, LOL!

  3. slouching mom January 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    A manifesto. Your anger palpable. So well written.

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