House Across the Street

The house across the street is small and white and shuttered.  There are six cars parked in two rows in the driveway, though I have only seen one of them working.  A slight young woman and a tall young man live there.  I assume that they are renters, like we are, but I could be wrong about that, like I am about many things.  I assume they are married because sometimes after the man has left the house letting the screen door slam, the woman pushes the door back open and stands on the top step with her hands on her hips and speaks harsh words to him.  I can’t actually hear what she says, but I know she is not happy with him because I do the same thing to my husband when he leaves the house and I am not happy with him. They have a young child, a boy it seems, since he wears clothes meant for boys, and since these seem like the type of people who wouldn’t dress a girl in boy clothes just to make a point.

I’ve never caught their eye, so I’ve never waved, though I would, I would learn their names and call out hello and wander across the street and ask about the boy, every time we were outside at the same time, which is probably the exact reason why they never let me catch their eye. 

They both wear t-shirts and jeans and neither seem to have a job, though they do come and go, and sometimes the man is carrying a small cooler which may or may not be the lunch he takes to a job he may or may not have.  Every so often, the man’s friends come around, usually late in the evenings.  I recognize the fat one.  They work together on electric scooters which seems to be the young man’s passion which makes me like him.  The young woman is not invited to join the men or doesn’t care to because she doesn’t come to join them on the sidewalk.  But once, when the young man was testing one of his scooters, she did come out and watch, which makes me like her too. 

In the spring, her belly was fat as a beachball and one day, I saw her carrying a car seat into the house, the little boy jumping up and down beside her.  I thought I should cook her a meal or bring her some old clothes that my kids have out grown or buy her a box of diapers.  But I never did any of these things, and now it seems too late. 

Not long ago, the fat friend backed a trailer over the curb and dropped a pontoon boat in the side yard. 

One night when my husband and I are sitting on the porch in the dark drinking beer, we watch a car drive up and the young man trot out of the house and fold himself into the car that promptly squeals away.  I suddenly feel bad for him, imagining how he was just trying to get a little action with a girl at school and then she got pregnant and now his life is so complicated he's got to do all kinds of acrobatics just to go out drinking with his buddy.  Then, a few minutes later, the young woman comes out of the house with the kid and the car seat, wearing the same t-shirt and jeans she always wears but with a lightness about her that isn't usually there.  "Well, well, well," says my husband, as if that explains everything.  Which it does.  

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