Friday, January 13, 2012

Train wreck

Coming home tonight, I found my upstairs neighbor seated in front of my door and I was so startled to see her. “What are you doing here?” I asked. I thought maybe she was having a problem and needed to talk to someone. “I can’t get into my apartment,” she complained. “This is my apartment,” I corrected her and laughed. “Come on in.”

My neighbor lives directly above me, and she was a little embarrassed that she got off on the wrong floor. But I think her blunder was fate. I had just been thinking on my walk home that I wanted to discuss literature with somebody and she just happens to be a writer.

I turned on the heater and made some tea. Sipping chamomile, we exchanged stories. I told her about a train wreck I had witnessed early today, not literally, but an emotional vindictive display of human misery, directed at me. 

An ex-boyfriend delivered the cruelest and most childish, unprovoked, written attack against me. It was all nonsense. There were some deriding comments about how I write books for children and I’m stupid and I need to grow up and wake up and go F myself. Well, I couldn't look away from the screen. It was like watching demons escape during an exorcism. 

He did not affect my feelings, only the feelings I had about him. I have no room in my life for an abusive alcoholic, no matter how distant they are. I invite neighbors in for tea, but my hospitality does not extend to mean people.

My neighbor listened to my story and since she is full of pop culture references, quoted “Family Guy” and some other TV shows unfamiliar to me. I turned the conversation to villains in literature. I prefer reading about villains with whom I can sympathize, like Fagin from “Oliver Twist.” But this guy reminds me of Rumpelstiltskin. I’m quite relieved that after his tantrum he has disappeared in a poof of smoke. Many ugly things in life are like Rumpelstiltskin. Fears, regrets, anger, obnoxious drunk people. Once you name them, they vanish.

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