Last Thursday I sobbed into an overworked mascara-stained tissue to my therapist.
“I feel so unsafe, so invisible. Like no one listens to me!” I cried. The Neighbor moving back had been verified 100%, beyond a doubt, and I was shaken to my core. And tonight the thing I thought would never have to happen again did.
After an exhausting 10-hour day I met up with a lovely 30-year-old single father at a posh restaurant for fancy biscuits, red wine and whiskey. I took my time mulling over his words and contemplated what it’d be like to have him over me naked and writhing. Then I hit a wall.
“I have to go. I can’t form sentences anymore.”
He waited with me for valet and we sweetly hugged goodbye.
I put on My Dad Wrote a Porno and laughed the whole drive home. Drove up my hill, passed TN’s car, couldn’t find parking by my building as is the norm after 6 pm – and especially after 10 pm – and headed back down the hill, past his car and building until I finally found an open spot.
I sat and listened to the footnotes about the anatomy of a vagina and smiled, safe and warm. Life was funny. And I wasn’t quite ready to trek up the hill with all my work things.
The podcast ended 7 minutes later and I stood up, realized I left my keys in the console and bent back down to grab them. When I stood up again I caught a man out of the corner of my eye round the end of his car and head to the driver side door. It was him. And he’d probably seen me.
I shut the door, slung my purse over my shoulder and began walking up the hill.
I heard the distinctive deep purr and rumble of his big fancy engine start up. My heart raced.
He reversed and switched into gear at my hip and I looked at him as he looked over his shoulder at me, two feet apart. It was too dark to make eye contact exactly, but we might as well have.
I kept walking.
He drove out of the complex.
I shook and stomped, furious that we had literally run into each other.
At the top of the hill I was out of breath. I let the dog out and he took off into the woods. I called and called, but he had disappeared into the blackness.
More furious than before I thought about writing and purging my rage, but realized I’d left my laptop back in the car.
Back down the hill I went, an idea now formed.
That day I’d soaked my poor tissue my therapist and I had come up with a plan that would help me set a boundary and feel safe, visible: I would leave a note on his door proactively rather than wait for an accidental run in or some deliberate, possibly aggressive knock on his door.
It would say, “I can’t believe you moved in 100 ft from my front door. What a selfish, senseless, and cruel thing to do.” Full stop.
Some facts, some feelings. Nothing to argue with.
I ripped a page out of the back of my planner and scribbled it down.
It didn’t feel right.
I tried again.
This time it was better.
“What on earth would possess you to move back and only 100 feet from my front door?
Senseless and selfish is all I can come up with.”
Heart slamming, chest heaving I hauled ass back up the hill and ran up the two flights of stairs to his third floor door and left it in the pinch clip, facing out. There would be no avoiding me this time.
I had seen a car entering the complex as I’d ascended the stairs and so I raced back down worried it could have been him.
Still shaking I climbed the hill again in the dark, my breath warm milky puffs in the cold night air, my heart just as cold if not colder.
What a bastard.
I’m doing what I want. It’s what everybody else does. Fuck this noise.