The Saga Below

8 Apr

We stopped our own conversation to better hear the woman in the apartment below mine. JMac and Turner were sitting on the couch, but I was on the floor, sitting on top of a pile of pillows and blankets. I leaned over and pressed my ear to the floor, hoping that would make the woman’s words clearer, but not quite. It still was just yelling, anguished, frustrated yelling, with only a word or two here or there clear enough to understand.

One by one we got up from the floor and moved to the far wall of my apartment. One by one we pressed an ear to the wall, squeezing in the space between my bookcase and wine bar. It was clear as day, the woman’s voice; she must have been standing right below us, and her voice traveled a straight vertical path between apartments, unhindered by any insulation.

At first we thought she was yelling at someone in the apartment, but no, we realized, we think that was just the TV we were hearing in the background. Which we then decided meant she wasn’t slamming anyone around – the sound that originally made us stop and listen, a pounding so loud it sounded like someone had gotten thrown against a door or wall – and was pounding or kicking the door or wall out of anger while on the phone with someone.

We held our breath as we listened, talking softly only to ask a few questions.

“Is she French?”I asked. “Her accent sounds French.”

“I was thinking Bolivian,” Turner commented.

“Oh, I was going to say Haitian,” JMac put in.

Hard to say. But we heard enough of her accented English to know that she was mad.

More than mad.


Why the person on the other end of the phone didn’t just hang up we couldn’t understand. The three of us were agog at the anger that just kept rumbling forth out of this woman, but the more it came, the more we all felt saddened as well. There was a lover on the other end of the phone, it seemed. A cheating lover. She is a good person, the woman below shouted about herself, all of her friends love her and think she is thoughtful and kind,  and they like her, but he never gave her that much. In their 5 years they had never had a sense of intimacy, even though she had told him what she wanted, and he never gave it to her. And now there were fucking naked pictures, she screamed, but he never wanted to do anything like that with her. And something to do with a Facebook page.

And then the steam was gone, both from the shouting woman and from the three of us. We settled back around the coffeetable to pick at the dinner leftovers and continue the interrupted conversation about our own personal dramas and sagas, keeping our voices to a neutral, tempered tone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: