the troubles…

Before we bought the house, and all the while when we were still looking for a home, I foolishly hoped that having our own place would make me feel safer… that I could let my guard down a bit and enjoy our little piece of land, however small. But I know now that fences are not fortresses, and fire, footsteps, angry words and worse pass through them like the rustling in the trees overhead. I can’t understand most of the words that drift through our windows from the streets, but their tone is clear… intense, sometimes angry, sometimes simply raucous, as the bottles clink, sometimes smash, and shouts fly… I have always been anxious, but now there are both real and imagined things to fear that are sharper than failure, harder than hurtfulness… the staccato of voices sometimes punctuated by shots in the not-too-far-off distance. The next door neighbors are warring over something… there was an ominous cluster of guys gathered in front of the neighbor’s house when I came home, and the shouting and shoving and name-calling has escalated over the course of an hour or two… seems to be over a girl, or a real or perceived slight over a girl, though the language they use for her is not so polite. On my ride home this evening, again pulling a trailer, a boy in a group of others who couldn’t have been older than eight or nine yelled at me lewdly, “Damn, I’d like to be behind that bitch!”. I yelled back firmly that he should watch his mouth. My heart hurts for these kids who aren’t allowed to be children, who feel they must be hard and tough and full of sexual swagger when they are only babies… and seethes at these so-called-men who act like grown children fighting in the street, setting an example for the kids watching them from windows and porches. I didn’t have a perfect childhood, and had to grow up fast in a lot of ways, helping to take care of my younger brothers when my parents split up… but as hard as that was, we were still lucky. We didn’t always have a lot, but we always had something, and most of all, we had each other, and the land, books to retreat into and beauty all around because we knew where to look. It’s here, too… but sometimes harder to see.
It’s cold tonight, at the first of June. I’d consider lighting a fire if the woodstove weren’t surrounded by piles of construction materials and debris. A week ago I was sweating in a tank top, and now sit in a fleece and sweater under piles of blankets. I have so many things now that I’ve wanted for so long… a house of our own, however humble (it’s more of the idea of a house than an actual place to live right now, and for the indefinite future…), a dog, chickens, bees, a vegetable garden and fruit trees… and sometimes our life seems so happy and carefree. Munching mulberries from the wild hedge around our little lot, watching the bees fly east from their hives into the morning sun, and the dog romp and the boy and I laughing, laughing, laughing at the luck of it all… but still there is endless worry. The worries of our own we can handle… the house will get done (someday). We will live in one place. Life will be simpler, and while we’re not rich, we’re never hungry, for food or for love… but the things and people outside of our sphere of influence are endlessly troubling. The shouting outside has stopped for now, thank stars, as the fellow should be home shortly and I was worried about him walking into the middle of a tense scene… I called to give him a heads-up, and he’s generally better than me at reading people and situations, but still I worry. I crave quiet. Bella is curled on the floor at the foot of the bed, content that I am here, and I too am comforted by her and her quiet vigilance and deep sighs. And he will be home soon, and I will be able to relax and sleep soundly and forget about the troubles until tomorrow.

One thought on “the troubles…

  1. SaraC

    That is hard stuff. The neighborhood in Oakland (aka Stabbymurderville, USA) I used to live in was a mix of really nice neighbors and violent drug houses. There were several shootings directly outside my livingroom window, as well as a lot of break-ins and armed robberies. I couldn’t hack it. Good thing you have a Rottie to protect you!

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