baa baa black sheep

9.19.2007

Sympathy

11:12 a.m.

This morning as I was walking the dog (how many blog posts are going to originate with me walking the dog? I think I know: MANY) our behind-us neighbor pulled up at a stop sign next to Monk and me and rolled down her window. I haven't talk to her much, but always see her busy mowing or raking or building mysterious things with circular saws (her use of power tools while looking very pretty in make-up intimidates me quite of bit). She's very nice, and is the granddaughter of our nice elderly next-door neighbor. Idling at the stop sign, she talked to me a long time, about how nice and calm Monk is, and how cute he is. She petted his head gleefully when he shoved his nose into her car window (he's way too tall), and talked about how they know a good place at a lake for dog swimming. She told me repeatedly if I ever need anything or want to know where something is, that she'd love to help. She gave me some parking tips about the snow rules here, and gave me her number, and kept offering to help out in any way possible. Her eyes looked very blue and pretty and kind and intelligent when she said, "I've got a couple of kids, one 24 and one 27, and when they move somewhere new I always hope someone nice will take care of them for me if they need anything, and I now how it feels. I know how you must feel, so please please call if you need anything."

By the time she pulled away, I was close to tears, and I scurried Monk home quickly. I put away his leash and gave him a treat. I walked to the bathroom, sat down on the closed toilet seat, and sobbed hard, the kind of open mouthed weeping that's dry and choking, for several minutes. The kind that hurts because so much ugliness escapes, the kind that leaves you tired and spent.

Still crying softly, I shuffled to the kitchen sink to wash dishes. As I washed, Monk started playing with one of his toys, a large floppy canvas cat. He shook it around violently, and it's flailing limbs smacked him in the face, over and over and over with loud thwapping sounds. After a while he started shoving it against my back, prodding me to play. Shove, run, shove, run, shove. So I put down the rag and threw the drooly toy for him to fetch while I sniffled and laughed.

In the course of the game, he kicked up the kitchen rug. Coltrane, the evil cat, appeared out of nowhere. She trotted to the rug (rugs are her worst enemies), straddled it carefully. She slowly, so slowly, lowered her weird flabby kitty belly over the rug. She looked around twitchily, crazily, eyes wide and yellow. Suddenly she flopped over and started to kick angrily with her hind legs. The dog started to thwap himself in the face again with the wet dirty toy, and she kicked the rug over and over as he shook his head and ran into furniture, and Jelly Roll snored wheezily behind me on the couch, and everything felt okay. Sort of gray, still out of whack, but okay.

I don't know why the blueness and frankness of our neighbor's eyes made me cry, but they did. I suppose it was the first time anyone here seemed genuinely sympathetic. Not curious or negative or disbelieving. Just nice.

I wish people knew, sometimes.

Love,
black sheeped

9 Comments:

Blogger Shannon said...

Lots of hugs coming at you today. We have never gotten such nice treatment as that during out moves. It is nice when someone strange cares.

11:52 AM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Erin said...

Restores your faith in humanity a bit, doesn't it? Hope you're doing ok.

12:31 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Jess said...

What a great neighbor. It sounds like you might have needed to cry, and something in her just triggered it. And yeah, wouldn't it be nice if people knew?

12:38 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Marie Green said...

Wow.

Sometimes when people really care, when they really LOOK and SEE, I break down too. Once, when my twins were newborns, I took them to the hospital to be weighed. David and I were laughing and jolly the whole day, but when the lactation nurse put her arm on my shoulder and asked "How are things going?" I totally LOST IT. Right there. Which I never do.

And poor David was all like "HUH???" because just .005 seconds ago I was F-I-N-E. Well, as fine as a severely sleep deprieved and struggling to breastfeed with bleeding nipples mother of twins CAN be.

Anyway, it was just her tenderness. Her really wondering, really seeing the stress around my smiles. Her sincerity.

Sounds like your neighbor is an angel. =)

1:06 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Tessie said...

I totally get this. I go through life assuming nobody cares about any of my bullshit, so when someone actually DOES, I'm like, "whoa". SOB.

1:08 PM, September 19, 2007  
Anonymous Pickles & Dimes said...

That is so nice. It is amazing how one nice word or compliment can totally make your day - or even your life.

4:09 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Shelly Overlook said...

It's totally the little things that make the biggest impact sometimes. What a nice way to start your day.

6:39 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger PixelPi said...

I'm so glad where you live in the Heartland is like where I live. When we moved into our house last year, we had cookies and muffins and cards with our neighbors' phone numbers. It was a little overwhelming to have nice people just say "We know you're new here." And have a hug from over here to over there, too.

11:41 AM, September 20, 2007  
Blogger jen said...

that made ME cry.*

*ok, so everything makes me cry now.

3:42 PM, September 20, 2007  

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