My house is so still. One child has gone to work, one still sleeps and the other is in his room quietly doing his math. 

I can hear the hum of the fridge. The pur of the outdoor spa. I I hear the dial tone on my neighbours phone, the relentless beeps as she dials and redials a number no one ever answers  and the sighing  as she gives up trying to call whoever it is she is reaching out to. I can hear the key in the door as she locks it behind her and the car splutter to life as she heads off, wherever it is she is going. Noise travels well in stillness. And next door, they are raw, pulsating noise. 

This morning was the shrill screams of a 12 year old not wanting to brush his teeth. The snippets we hear, the language, the fights, makes me think that perhaps these children have some kind of issues that create the daily multiple meltdowns. We've even had soiled toilet paper thrown over the back fence to land in our yard.  You could say these neighbours of ours are what the rest of Australia would derisively term as "Houso's". 

But it's the stillness of these moments, when my children are quiet and hers are at school that I hear pieces of her. The persistent cough she seems to have had for the past four weeks. The constant dialing of a phone that is never answered. A kinder person would go over there, introduce themselves, ask if she was okay or needed a hand. I am not that kind. I just listen. And I know when the working week is done, there will be cars parked all over the roadside and more noise and extra people and more rubbish that finds its way onto my lawn. 

I like the silence, even if it does seem tainted with a kind of sadness. 

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3/2 '15 2 Comments
Oh, how beautifully you write. I felt compassion for your neighbor (and I know you feel it too, you just don't have a big enough plate to add her issues to your own, and that's not unkindness, it's just life) when I read your post. I love your prose. You have always been able to move me.
There's multiple meltdowns next door on a daily basis. This morning over breakfast Jase was saying he thinks the oldest one might have behavioural issues or maybe be a kid on the spectrum. I agree. I do feel for her. But yes, I don't have any room on my plate for her problems right now either.
She seems to have support on the weekends, but during the week I think she does it pretty tough. It just makes me sad because I know other people will be judging her ability as a mother based on her kids behaviour and her socio-economic standing. This is a big town (pop. 65,000) but it still has a small town mentality that's very typical of country folk. So she's got it pretty tough. I hope she gets that cough looked at soon.
Beth Adele 3/3 '15