Sunday, October 23, 2011

Commotion

Last night G and I watched Iron Man 2, which was quite good. It ended at about 11:30, and I sent her off to brush her teeth while I filled a glass of water in case she got thirsty in the night. When I brought it in, she was already in bed, and I could hear voices in the driveway below her window. We live in a condo complex, so imagine two rows of townhomes with attached garages facing each other and a long driveway (actually a little street with its own name) running between them and then letting out onto the main road.

As I switched off G's bedside lamp, the voices erupted into a full-blown argument:

Man (screaming): Fuck you, bitch!
Woman: [unintelligible]
Man: [unintelligible] Don't you ever [unintelligible] again!

At this point I heard the sound of several loud slaps and ran upstairs to my own bedroom to get my phone. When I came back about 30 seconds later, the argument was still raging and G said "Mom, what is it?" I said "Sshh, I'm going to call the cops" and pulled aside her curtain just in time to see the man reach through the driver's-side window of his car and shove the woman, who was standing just outside the car as if he'd thrown her out, so that she fell into the driveway with the contents of her handbag spilling around her. Then he peeled out onto the street and roared off, leaving her lying there in the dark.

I thought of going outside, but didn't want to rush out there right away in case the jackhole in the car decided to come back and perhaps beat us both up, or worse, run us over. So I opened up G's window and called down to the woman, who was starting to move around a little, feebly, "Are you okay? Do you need me to call anyone for you?"

She sat up, seeming stunned. "I think I'm all right."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah...I just need to pick up my stuff. It's okay. Thanks."

"Okay, if you're sure," I said.

I closed the window, but kept watching through a gap in the curtain while she slowly collected her fallen belongings and put them back into her bag. G said, "What happened?" and I said "That guy was an ass, he hit her and pushed her down. Never have a boyfriend like that." She said "What are you going to do now?" and I said "I'm going to wait and make sure she's really okay."

After a minute or so, the woman got all her things together, stood up and walked out into the glow of the streetlamp just outside the driveway. At this point I finally got a better look at her--she was youngish, maybe 30 or so, with dark hair, and dressed the way you would dress to go out on a Saturday night, in a black tank top and black pants, with heels. She stood there in the pool of light for a moment and then turned left and disappeared from view, digging through her bag as if she were looking for her phone.

I thought about calling the police anyway: even if the guy was long gone, they could have caught up with her easily since she was on foot, and perhaps taken a report or at least found her a ride. But it also crossed my mind that there was a small chance it could be a prostitution-related thing--I didn't think it was, but having grown up in a terrible neighborhood where prostitution was rampant, I knew it wasn't impossible either. If that had been the case, I could have caused her a lot of trouble by getting cops involved, and she was already having a hard enough night, so I let her go. I hope she got home or to a friend's house all right--our area is quite safe, so she was almost certainly in less danger walking, even alone at night, than she would have been with the guy who smacked her around.

G has an unshakable belief that I can handle just about any emergency that might arise (zombie apocalypse? no problem, Mom's got it) so she stayed calm through the whole thing and went tranquilly off to sleep afterward, but I was full of adrenaline for a long time. The most worrisome part is that not a single other person in any of the surrounding buildings so much as looked out a window to see if this poor woman was alive or dead. It wasn't even midnight yet, so I can't have been the only one awake. It's nice to know that the neighbors would be right there for me if I ever screamed in the night. Jeez.

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