I was out for a walk in the neighborhood the other day, not on my way to the library or Mettina for lunch, just a walk. I heard the raised voices about a block away -- a couple arguing. The tones sounded young, not unlikely living as close as I do to the university. Another eruption -- voices of vituperation, but I would be beyond their vortex in about a minute and out of earshot in one or two more. They were really no more annoying than the diesel belching recycling trucks.
Then she shot out the front door, down the steps, trailing a string of accusations. She whirled on the sidewalk and stared back at the house. He swung open they screen door and hurled a one word invective. "Bitch!"
The word must have stung, she backed across the sidewalk to the grassy apron before the street. I was only thirty feet from her and now I would be walking between the young combatants. Clearly it was just a lover's spat, no firearms, probably no real offense; but I was either going to awkwardly detour around her into the street or just walk on directly through the demilitarized zone.
I walk straight through, only three feet from her. I felt the tension but no hate, nothing real just a lover's quarrel, they would be back in the same bed tonight or sooner. She sat down on the strip of apron grass as I passed and I heard her tears begin. A few steps later I was about to cross the property line and be officially beyond the tableau, when I sensed a question. I slowed but did not stop and turned to the young man on the porch. Certainly he could have spit out a "what are you looking at" but he quietly said: "What would you do?"
I pointed at the porch, "I'd sit down on the steps and breathe a bit."
As he folded his lanky body down, my walk continued through the neighborhood and I wondered why those recycling trucks were not converted to solar.