An altercation.

I was just awakened from the fastest and soundest sleep I’ve had in days by angry shouts and yelling outside. When they did not pass, I came to the window and opened the blinds. I saw a white minivan stopped in the street and a man and a woman beside it. The man seemed to be yelling at the woman to get back in the car; his voice was full of rancor and his speech littered with expletives. She had run away from the van and was sort of whimpering a short distance away. I opened the window to get a better idea of what was going on. When his violent threats did not stop, she relented, and came back towards the car. She approached the passenger side, but then faked him out, pretending as though she were going to climb in the backseat instead of the passenger seat. He opened the passenger door to yell at her to get in the front, but she scampered away as quickly as she could.
This made him incredibly livid, and he left the minivan running in the middle of the street, doors ajar, blocking traffic, telling her to come back and get her car. He followed her, and I was just about to go call the police when she came scampering back without him.
“Make sure he’s not following me, okay?” she asked my downstairs neighbor, who was shoveling out his car nearby and who had been witness to the entire spectacle. She then got in the car and drove away.
I went back to bed, troubled, but when I heard my downstairs neighbor talking to someone outside, describing what he had seen of the incident, I went back to the window and opened it. I thought perhaps it was a cop on the street who had been somehow alerted with alacrity. It turns out that my second floor neighbor had called the cops, and had stuck his head out the window to get the shoveler’s account of what had transpired. From the latter’s description I learned of some of the more frightening comments made by the man, including “If you want to bring a life into this world, I can take it out again.” The woman did look as though she were pregnant. Jesus Christ.
Anyway, I was relieved to hear that the police had been phoned, and I called down to the fellows to let them know. My shoveling neighbor informed us that the folks next door had also seen the whole thing as they were smoking on the stoop, and had gotten a “What are you looking at?” from the angry man. Lord knows he was not a guy you wanted to mess with. He was the angriest-sounding person I have ever come across. He was definitely ready to inflict some serious damage on whatever crossed his path.
I’m more relieved than I was before I knew the police were called, but the whole thing makes me think about a number of things. Why did I hesitate to call the police in the first place? What might the police even do in a situation such as this? And, perhaps most importantly, what did the woman do after she drove off? I found myself praying that she had the sense to go either straight to the police station or straight out of town without looking back. There is a part of me that doubts she has done either of these things. If she is indeed pregnant, it probably complicates things in her mind even more than they must be already for her to stay with such an abusive man.
It’s unsettling to have such a horrible scene of raw human ugliness played out right outside one’s window. I can’t help but feel blessed, and utterly lucky.
It sort of puts things in perspective. Perhaps I needed that tonight.
Now I’m going to try to get back to sleep, which doesn’t look promising, since my brain is going a mile a minute now. I knew that wonderful sleep was too good to be true.
Next time, I don’t think I’ll be so hesitant to call the police.


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