Suspicious Silence

While walking and checking out the variety of homes lining various streets within the confine of a specific neighborhood, I noticed that one particular house, a good-looking place, seemed dormant. A corner house. Front door facing south, garage on the west side. It’s a simple no-nonsense habitat. Light tan, maybe even a subtle yellow with white window frames and thick white shutters. A big tree near the front double doors protrudes, not only shading the grassy area but also the sidewalk. It’s the kind of tree you’d add a swing to. Small green trees are strategically planted in front of a big street-facing window, which adds to the home’s minimal design. As does the simple white gate next to the garage, allowing entrance into the backyard.

The thing that struck me as odd on this particular day was that it dawned on me that the place always looks ‘shut down’. As if no one lives there. Yet, someone maintains the landscape. I felt curious all of a sudden. Day after day I’d walk by, never stopping, and imagine what’s happening. Maybe the people were on an extended vacation. Maybe this home was their vacation spot and the house was just waiting for a visit from the owners.

Well, one day, about two months in, as I was walking by I heard voices in the backyard. ‘Yay!’ I thought. The house has opened up. And with that I walked on. But then, days-upon-days later, I noticed that whenever I passed the place and even though I heard the voices in the backyard, the house still seemed under-used, not lived in. Windows remained closed. Doors shut. Lights off.

I began to wonder if squatters had taken over. That they somehow figured out in the middle of this community, with lots of people milling about, that the no-nonsense home was theirs for the taking. And since the backyard was easy to access they could use the area for simply hanging out.

Days continued to pass.

One evening an older gentleman and a young kid walked out of the front door to retrieve the mail.

Say what?

The man with his white hair, white beard, and very white skin was followed by a teenage kid wearing a dark green hoodie, his long hair dangling over one eye. Interestingly, with the front door propped open I (quickly) observed that it was dark inside. No lights. And window shades still drawn. Both occupants walked casually, the kid stopping halfway down the paved walkway while the man grabbed some letters. Then both re-entered the house. Door quietly closed.

Now I was even more curious.

Unfortunately, I never saw those two again, and the backyard voices were gone. The only visible clue that someone was around was a blue Saturn parked in the driveway. Daily.

At this point all I could do was wonder if something was amiss. Or, if possibly, I’ve created something that’s nothing.

2 days ago, I walked by the house and …

‘Say what?’

… the front and back doors were open – so was the gate, exposing a pristine backyard – and about 10 people were in the house. Not one of them was the white haired, white bearded, white skinned man or the teenage boy.

Hum.

And then I see the car. Stenciled on its side was a company name. My eyes zoomed to the word INVESTIGATIVE.

Interesting.

I had to act cool. Seem like just another afternoon strolling down the avenue. Minding my own business. With some quick glances here and there I witnessed two guys discussing something inside the hall near the front door. One of them pointing up, down, to the left, to the right. At the same time two woman wearing masks exited the house, went to a car, pulled out some wipes, vigorous sanitized their hands, then walk back into the house. At the back door, people were talking, each holding a clipboard. And, I also noticed the blue Saturn parked at the curb.

Hum.

I was thinking someone got busted (and I was right about squatters) or someone died – by homicide (I watch way too many murder mysteries!) So, I figured those people were either investigators or a cleanup crew. Discussing how best to deal with dishonest people or to clear the place of all the carnage.

I headed straight home and Googled the company name.

Damn.

Home inspection. Nothing like what I was thinking, at all!! Instead, homes are ‘investigated’ and inspected when putting the place ‘on the market’, or something like that.

Yesterday, there was a twin mattress (no box spring) and a dark wooden bed frame on the grass near the curb.

That’s it. That’s all I know. And I probably will never ever get to the bottom of this human story or the crime I’ve created in my head. I will never know what the truth is. Who are/were those people seemingly using the backyard as a social place and/or living in a dark home?

I Am One of Many

I like quiet. To be alone. To spend time reflecting. On life. And everything else.

But, then, I find myself, as part of those reflecting moments, to not want to be alone because it may eventually come true. Probably will.

What then?

This morning I was reading in the back room, focused and engaged in a mystery drama.

Suddenly, I paused. Took my eyes off the text. Stared out the window. And listened.

I heard Rudy in the kitchen. Turning on and off the KitchenAid mixer. I heard nothing else. Just the whir of the slowly spinning paddle. Mixing bread dough.

I just listened.

The sound of that mixer fills our home regularly. He’s always making something. The sound of Rudy in the kitchen feels comforting in the same way that being alone soothes my soul.

I want to be quiet, to be alone, and to reflect on everything. And just as important, I want human connection.

Reality Bites (Pilot), S1 E1

A┬ástory…

remote control

Anne sat down on the faded couch wanting to unwind after a long day at work, losing herself in reality TV, watching people unaware that their private lives are on display for the world to watch. She slouched low, burying herself in the folds of the overstuffed sofa curious about the five college students who live together. What Anne knew, as did anyone else who tuned in daily, that these students were offered free rent in an on-campus house, as part of an internship.

What the students didn’t know was that they were part of an experiment, based on the movie The Truman Show, to see if in fact their lives can be truthfully documented. The psychologist running the test was interested to know how five, very diverse, unsuspecting people would interact. He was hoping to learn more about how the human mind thinks, the value of facial expressions and body language and also why people have hidden agendas.

Anne indulges, every afternoon, in the unedited show, soaking in the truths of the unsuspecting young adults as they live a carefree lifestyle. Yet, she feels slightly guilty for watching them, without their knowing.

“My guilty pleasure,” she whispers, as current events unfold before her eyes.

Homelessness

I saw her.
About two years ago.
On my drive to work.
A mid-forty(ish) woman.
Average – not too thin not too heavy – build.
Shiny, blond, neatly combed hair.
On the corner of Whittier and Greenleaf.
Sitting on a bench.
Watching the overflow of traffic.
Sadness abounding from her face.

I saw her.
Today.
For the ump-teen time.
Skinny.
Dull, dishwater-blond hair.
Lines etched into her face.
On her corner.
Wandering, circling around her pile of stuff.
Lots of stuff.
Talking.
To herself.
Waving at passing cars.
A detached from reality look on her face.

I’m an Introvert.

IMG_5263There’s an article going around on Facebook, you know the kind that always have a number in the title, like this one, 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert by Carolyn Gregoire | The Huffington Post.

Well now, I zoomed right in, only to confirm what I already knew. I’m an introvert. And it’s no secret, unless of course you don’t know me, then well, maybe it is a secret, by default.

The article basically explains to the reader how to spot an introvert, that they aren’t always so obvious, and it even goes on to say how an introvert may not know they are indeed introverted. So here I sit, wondering, How is it that someone who’s shy, or withdrawn, or engaging with an inner hidden feeling of anxiety due to socializing, doesn’t know they are an introvert? I am guessing here, that the first ones to read such an article do so because it relates to them. Meaning, an introvert reads this article because it’s fun to read what they already know. Everyone enjoys things that pertain to them, personally. Right?

I’ve known forever, or at least as long as I began socializing, that I am an introvert. In my younger years, I was very uncomfortable with the prospect of being in situations with groups of people. Rather than engaging, I stood back worrying what everyone else was thinking and anxious about joining in. But as the years have passed, and though I still consider myself drawn-in, I socialize, hold conversations, and am overall content around others. Yet, rather than trying to be a person I’m not, someone others would probably feel more comfortable around, I have embraced my listening skills, rather than trying to overuse my voice. I now understand it’s okay to speak when I feel like it, rather than talking because others expect me to.

As a child, almost all my teachers told my parents I was too quiet, that I needed to participate more (that’s probably when I began to feel I wasn’t as awesome as everyone else seemed to be). And because of that, as a teacher of young kids, I never tell a student he or she needs to ‘come out of their shell’. They will discover their own voice, in their own time.

I remember being invited to a birthday party when I was about 10 years old. It was a sleep over, my first. And even though it should have been an exciting time, it actually brought out a tremendous amount of anxiety. Having to socialize and talk nonstop, tell secrets and giggle, was way too difficult for me. I never wanted to participate in that kind of gathering again. And I don’t think I ever did. Now, take me back to that time, but with the grown-up me, the person who now understands who I am, what I have to offer. I would have made the most of being an emotionally in-tune person. Also, time and again, it seems so many people are striving for what I, and many introverts, possess. Simply, quiet calmness. Someone who is balanced. A person who can interact with others when deemed necessary, even if it’s not always easy, but who is also comfortable being alone.

I suppose the article is simply bringing an introverts traits into the limelight, to our attention, so that we – well, not me – can be sure to understand the personalities of the quiet, or not so quiet, ones; the obvious introverts and the hidden kind, and make sure they are not overlooked but rather included, graciously.

another woman

I heard he was interested in a girl, a younger woman. Someone he met, somewhere. She had dark hair and dark eyes. And was supposedly nice. A nice, simple girl.

He didn’t talk about her, and she didn’t talk about him, but somehow I knew this woman was someone who may, or may not, intrude on our life.

The day we went to the local fair, he and I, with our kids, I saw her. Just talking. I didn’t know her. Yet, I knew she was the one. Somehow I just knew.

He had wandered off, taking our youngest on a ride. I stayed behind, just hanging out with my daughter.

I walked over to the girl, said hello, and asked her if she was indeed interested in him.

The strange thing is, the fact is, that even though we didn’t know one another, at all, she knew who I was talking about and answered as if we were best friends. I think so, yes, she said. He’s nice. Very nice. She went on to say other things, nothing big deal, but things that confirmed her interest in him.

When she was all done talking I stated, He’s my husband, the guy you are considering a relationship with. The girl didn’t seem surprised by my admission. And neither did she seem pissed, as if she’d been duped. She simply stared at me with her big brown eyes, saying nothing.

Later, at home, I said to him, I know about her, and if you have plans to pursue something, anything, count me out. He looked at me, didn’t respond. Not five minutes passed when I restated my thoughts. No. Never mind. Just the fact you are interested has uninterested me in you. I’m done.

Suddenly I awoke, from the dream I was having about my husband considering an affair with a another woman.

I rolled over in our California King bed and found him there, lying on his side, turned toward me, looking at me. Good morning, we whispered, simultaneously.