This is a True Story

I haven’t written because I am troubled by a recent experience of a shattered reality.

The grass has always been greener on my neighbor’s lawn.  During the 16 years of living across the street from them, I have always admired their neatly trimmed and nicely landscaped yard around their beautiful stone house.  I am fortunate that they live across the street from me because they give me a nice view from my front windows.

The family that lives in the stone house are as manicured as their yard.  We live in a small town outside of a large city, so it was amazing that I happened to work in the city with a woman who went to high school with my neighbors.  She told that the husband and wife met in high school.  He played football and she was a track star.  My source tells me that my neighbor was the prettiest girl in the school and her husband was always handsome and popular.  [awww — queue the theme song from Love Story.]

They have two sons and a daughter.  Both boys were track stars and qualified to compete at state in the hurdles.  Their oldest son won first place at state and their youngest son was favored to win but unfortunately fell while running the hurdles and lost his first place position.  Their daughter has artistic talent and after inheriting several million dollars from a favorite uncle she moved to New York.  A PERFECT FAMILY!

Okay, so there may be no such thing as a perfect family but I was happy with the thought that they were as close to perfection as anyone.

I first met my neighbor Jane (not her real name) when she was petitioning the neighbors to show up at a town hall meeting to lend their voice to a zoning change.  She was beautiful, slender and sweet.  I liked her instantly and we became friends.  Not the “talk everyday and do everything together” type of friends but the “come over and chat every once in a while neighbor because it is always good to see you” type of friends.

When she invited me into her beautiful home I saw that it was just as beautiful inside.  She has great taste.  The house was built in the 1930s and has been well maintained.   The rooms were organized and uncluttered.  Something that I am trying to accomplish as you know from reading this blog.

They have it all and I was happy with that impression — until that reality shattered and a new reality showed up.

Where we live, winters are harsh so we hunker down in our homes during the winter months and we lose touch with our neighbors but in the spring we get reacquainted with each other.  So on a recent spring Sunday morning as I returned from walking the dog I stopped to talk to Jane’s husband Richard (not his real name) who was trimming lilacs to bring to Jane.

That is when reality was shattered in a rapid fire style.

Richard was very drunk and it was only 9:00 a.m.   As I looked down at their lawn (that I always envied) I saw there were weeds sprouting up everywhere and it showed signs of neglect. Jane emerged from the home with dark sunglasses to hide a black eye.  Richard was quick to say that he did not cause the black eye but did share that he was headed for jail in June due to an incident that he and Jane had in December.

It was all too much too fast.  I walked back to my house in a dumbfounded stupor asking myself, how did they stray so far from what was once perfection?  When did things start to change?  Did I miss the clues all these years?  What happened to Dick and Jane?

I want it to be a bad dream; I want them to always remain perfect as I perceived them to be during the past 16 years; I want this sadness to go away.

My apologies for being a downer but thank you for allowing me to let it out.