17 August 2009

The lady upstairs

Many times I hear my upstairs neighbors. Someone is yelling, but I can't make out the words. Things are being slammed around. I hear heavy stomping. I hear someone yell and then leave, exit the building and slam the door, only to return and stomp upstairs and begin yelling again. This happens all the time, almost every day. But I never see these people.

Tonight, I was on my way out the door with Nico. A woman approached me from the laundry room and introduced herself. She said she's seen me around and that she wanted to meet my dog. She went on to say how good Nico is because she never hears a peep from her the entire day.

I asked which apartment she lived in and she simply pointed up.

Her eyes welled with tears as she began apologizing for all the noise coming from her apartment. She clutched her chest and muttered broken words, "My daughter. We fight."

I could see the anguish in her eyes, in her body language, in her everything. We stood in the stairwell - her apologizing to me, me assuring her there is no reason to apologize - and my heart was breaking for her. As she fought back tears I gave her my name and asked for hers. I finally said, "Jo Anne, if you ever need anything, ever, just to talk, just to step out for a moment, knock on my door." (As I said this, I was thinking, wow, that could help me into an awkward, uncomfortable or maybe even dangerous situation.)

Jo Anne went back and forth between wiping her eyes and clutching her chest. She slowly explained, "I'm sorry. It's just, just, so hard. And I don't know- I can't- I'm- it's a lot- It's so much to deal with-"

While I said, "it's okay, Joanne," in my heart I knew things weren't okay. I offered, again, for her to come by sometime to talk or just get out for a bit.

She slowly shook her head up and down and replied. "God bless you in Jesus Christ's name. ...you're one swingin' chic."

And then I walked out the door.

Listening to: Nil8 - Stone Thrower


  1. You gotta love those awkward, uncomfortable, potentially dangerous situations :)

  2. that was a truly kind and compassionate thing to do... even if she never takes you up on it, you were perfect in the moment. :)

  3. Wow... the Jesus thing would definitely be a red flag on me, but hey, at least you're a swingin' chick, right? Hehehehe...

  4. That was a well-done thing. Sometimes, when they don't know what to do, people just need a sympathetic ear.

    (And fear not, plenty of fairly harmless Americans are still openly Jesusists.)

  5. Another reason why I Love You! Hugs!!

  6. You did the right thing, that's why we luv ya! She definitely needed a friendly ear.



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