Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Out the door.

Out the door. Modesto. CA. 2010.

Out the door.
(Voyeur #2)

Out the door. Means different things to people. A lot of things can happen on the outside. You have no idea how much can go on in the inside. But there’s so much more on the outside than meets the naked eye.

Outside my back door there are two overgrown trees a small chair and me resting. From the moment I stepped off that plane it was an image that stuck in my head and all I could think about. Seventeen months and counting backwards from the plane ride, where I’m ready to step in lock the front door and take a rest from the life away from home.

Stepping in and dropping off the old suitcase felt like a weight being yanked clean off my chest. The idea of spending the next thirty days behind closed doors sounded more than inviting to my old bones. Getting to know the layout of my own place once again as I look at the familiar surroundings. TV is where I left it. A nice thick coat of dust covers the screen along with a large happy face etched into the dust. Stack of magazines and newspapers are in the corner where they were when I left. Trigger’s dog dishes are empty but he’ll be coming home in a day from my sister’s place.

The view is still amazing. The back porch balcony overlooks the next door neighbor’s property without any visible obstructions. I can’t help watching their movements while I’m watching the sky. There’s a statue wearing high heels dancing with a chair that has arms for legs moving across the blue skies when a man chasing a woman around the patio furniture with her voice screaming wild accusations. I can’t see his face as he keeps trying to reach out to grab her before shoving her into the table. There’s a quick struggle that she breaks free from with a knee to his crotch. It’s when she darts into the house that I realize that I can see directly into their kitchen. I decide that I need to redesign mine when I see the terracotta colored tiles leading into the dining room adjacent kitchen. She’s hitting him with a piece of dish towel before throwing and connecting with a frying pan up side his head after he follows her inside. Once he recovers the frying pan flies back into her direction and takes her down up connection. Its then I realize that the decorating can wait but my chair between the trees below can not.

My nap proves to be more unmoving that intended. I awake far after civil twilight to darkness and loud sounds of unpleasantness from the couple next door. I try to remember if this is the same happy couple that lived next door seventeen months ago. This is before I get up and look through the fence. The sound of my own breath is heavy as it bounces off the fence. The porch light from the other yard hits me squarely in the eye. I try to remember if I locked the front door while I’m watching the pair run through their house screaming via glimpses in the open window panels. The thought of being caught watching the dueling duo sits at the front of my mind, but I don’t stop.

This time around she’s winning. It’s been twenty-five minutes and I’ve gathered that he’s been caught in a lie or two while away on business. She’s continued to remain visible all through the fight, his whereabouts shift here and there but not consistent. I’m still missing his face as he walks through on occasion to deal a slap to her shrieking face or a push against her swinging hands, but it’s mostly through the shuffles between rooms that I hear the story. And it’s mostly her side of the story. Their fight seems more one-sided than fair as it circles back through the house and outside again. I can’t believe I’m taking sides in the fight when I realize it’s time to head out of it. Up and inside.

After the shower I’m sitting outside the house again. It’s quiet and there’s a blanket of stars out. The city lights can’t even keep out the brilliant colors. It’s right about the moment my eyes visualize a tiny dancer in the sky when I hear it. My eyes can’t focus on the exact direction but it lasts for over a minute. The long lengthy scream echoes into the darkness. It’s when I can hear it but can’t see it that I realize there’s almost no lights on next door but someone’s shadow moving through the house but the lights never come on. The reaction on my insides barely matches the one on my outside. Yet I do nothing but watch.

The colors of dawn illuminate nothing more than the rooftop of the house next door. My eyes focus on the small light of day and realize I’ve fallen asleep outside with my binoculars around my neck when I see the large plastic bags sitting on the back porch across from my view. A bit further back I can see something through open doorway resting upon the terracotta tiles that lead into the adjacent dining room. A large mallet. The kind you might use for removing walls before restoring them. Alongside there’s a large dark spot that has dried in the shape of Italy. The Italian peninsula lays next to a potential murder weapon and my mind questions that reasoning but never stops considering it.

Mid-morning napping is almost essential when you’ve managed to stay up all night watching the next door entertainment. It’s a quarter to ten when I’m awoken to the sound of my doorbell and the barking of Trigger outside of it. After my sister has been kind enough to bring him over we’re taking a brief walk outside of the front of the house. It’s then that I can see the neighbor man dragging out those plastic bags full of the unknown to the edge of the curb. His face is shadowed by a torn ball cap. My eyes wander over and under the plastic bags of potential death and keep looking for a hint of change in his demeanor. There’s no change. Trigger pulls at his leash toward the bags on the curb and begins barking loudly. The neighbor watches us watching him and quickly moves to drag the bags back to his property. Trigger gets louder and becomes more intent on the neighbor. I lean in and hug my sister goodbye and continue yanking the dog back. She tells me to call her later in the week and I nod before slipping back into the house with my persistent dog.

Late afternoon. It’s after 2pm when Trigger has had his lunch and decides to dig in the cool corner of the back yard near the fence. I can’t imagine why he’s over there, but the neighbor man with his hat is entertaining a guest or two. There’s no sign of the woman but from the looks it’s a pair of police officers. They seem to be asking him questions and pointing to the house next door to us. My guess is that I’m not the only one watching. It’s another time that I’m deciding that it best to see what Trigger is up to rather than find out what happened next door. Especially if someone saw more than I then there’s no need to worry. It will all be handled accordingly.

Thirty-five minutes before five o’clock when he’s done it. Trigger unearths a hole that reaches the other side of the fence and he’s found a part of something in the dirt. From the part he’s brought me, it looks like a bone. I can’t tell what kind of bone. It’s rather larger than anything from an animal. I think that I don’t’ remember giving him bones in the past as I fill the hole with dirt. Three feet away on the other side of the fence is my neighbor who is watching me push the dirt back into the hole. I think about saying hello but by the time it becomes an action the man is gone.

Another night beneath the stars except it’s quieter. The neighbor house is still but very well lit. There’s no sign of bags or mallets. But the man in a ball cap crosses the kitchen followed by another woman. It’s then the man moves to reveal an interesting secret. Long hair with a shake of the hat tumbles out. The other woman pours a glass of white wine and the woman now minus the hat pulls out a box from a cabinet in the dining room and unwraps something inside of it. They are admiring an oddly shaped object from within the box when the first woman moves to the kitchen taking the covered object. I can see her move to uncover the object once again before slicing part of it off. A thin sized sliver that resembles part of a finger. They look up and over toward my direction. She looks back at the other woman and then the object before slicing into it again and again while laughing. One by one the fingers, the pieces fall climbing upwards to the top of an arm and I step backwards into the inside of my own. Locking the door behind me. 

A picture that tells nothing about a story and a story that tells nothing about a picture. Yet here they are together. People watching. Ever watch your neighbors? Some are nice, some are quiet, some don't mind company and some are miserable because of it. Interesting interactions nonetheless. And careful, you never know who you are living next door to. Kidding of course. Story is from Voyeur and did warn that they wouldn't all be dirty. Anyhow, the universe tells you to enjoy and you have to listen. Hopefully everyone did listen and had a fabulous weekend. Kisses. Enjoy. m.

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