Sunday, January 29, 2012

Arcs & Drifts

I sighed upon opening the front door today and beholding the new-fallen snow. Fluffy and blindingly-bright, Chienne and I braved the winter weather and took a brief walk. We moved toward my interesting neighbor so I could peer down the driveway and see what was what.

The day after the kerfuffle over the locked car, the burly pick-up truck sat in the driveway, cab covered by plastic wrap that was twisted at the end and tucked under the door handle.

"Odd," I thought, "that the wife would threaten to break the car window, only to leave with Ryan. Then the husband comes home to break his truck window."

"Both truck windows," I corrected myself quietly to Chienne this morning as I observed the driver's side. I took a moment to wonder if he'd been enraged when she said that he cared more about the vehicle windows than he did about her affair, pictured the crunch the glass must have made when struck with something suitably heavy and dramatic.

I like drama, I pouted, thinking that if I didn't have to work (and nap and run errands and read...), I could have set up camp at my window to watch neighborhood events unfold. I offered a sad smile his direction when he glanced up from his work on his wife's car. He returned it as I glanced past him to the garage they use for storage rather than parking. There was an old couch and television in the corner and I wondered, moving through the snow after my silly dog once again, if he'd used the space to escape the females - wife and daughters - in his family.

And I wondered where they were now. And how he'd be if they didn't return - if having space inside the climate-controlled house might enable him to find someone who made him happier.


"I can't take it anymore," Mom has said. "He's always complaining. Always negative. With the comments and the jokes that he thinks are funny but actually are mean."

I feel badly for her at times. But I also remind her that she is also rather sensitive and dramatic - it runs in the family - and I'd really rather he not move up here with me if she makes him leave their longtime home.

I called them today, a little shaken after meeting my neighbor's sad gaze this morning, and smiled when Mom sounded so happy. They've escaped the frozen north to spend February in Florida and are currently en route to their rented cottage on the bay.

"We're at the welcome station," my snowbird mother chirped. "Dad's looking at brochures - that's how we found our hotel last night. They have coupons and descriptions and they tell you exactly which exit to take!"

"Wow," I offered before a cough interrupted my giggle. I have another head cold - it's flipping ridiculous.

"I found a welcome book," Dad disclosed when it was his turn on the phone. "We can use it to find a place to stay tonight. It's nice and warm - we turned off the heat when we were going through Tennessee - and we're on vacation now!"

"Maybe," Mom told me when they visited for my birthday, "when the girls aren't distracting me, I can pay attention to your dad and find out why he's so unhappy. If he just needs more attention."

"Maybe," I agreed, thinking I was sometimes happy to be single. To have fingers crossed for trips to Europe and Japan and Australia (first time for the latter!) this year. To be able to park in my garage and have a house to myself. And not have to worry about what happens next with a partner who's unpredictable and unhappy.

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