Well, last night, I was not the one watching the bizarre comings and goings of her neighbors. I was the one being watched.
(images goes wavy, sound of harps as we go back in time to last night; about 9:45)
I'm trying to finish up the dishes, laundry and dusting before heading to bed. I take a few minutes to get ready for bed and throw on a thigh-high nightgown. Nothing else. I then take a load of laundry down to the basement, using the stairs I share with the family on the other side of the duplex. After starting that load, I fold the towels that were in the dryer and bring them up. Then I get to my door and....
Meghan is at work until 10:00 and then is going jogging afterwards. After jogging, she and her friend sometimes go to her friend's house to talk about boys or watch tapes of The OC; so it could be midnight or after before she gets home.
My basement consists of two rooms; the laundry room and a semi-finished room that has a refrigerator, desk, table, two dressers and lounge chair. Sounds like I could comfortably wait there, right? OK, now imagine about 20 boxes, camping equipment, diving gear, biking gear, old computers, a treadmill and Christmas decorations crammed in with all of the furniture. Yeah, that's right. No room.
I go outside through the garage and look to see if any of the neighbors have their lights on so I can use a phone to call Meghan. I glance down at my nightgown and try to convince myself it can pass for a dress.
The lights are on at the next-door neighbors (not the duplex neighbors, J and his wife. The landlord told me they never answer the door). A woman in her 30's lives there. I saw her through her bedroom window the first night I moved in when she had her blinds pulled down to waist level. She was facing the window, and I know she's a natural brunette.
So, now I'm in her living room and seeing the rest of her, clothed this time; and she's seeing more of me than I really prefer. I stand with my arms kind of crossed in front of me, legs crossed, trying to act casual. I'm not pulling it off. Upon hearing my tale of woe, Liz is very sympathetic and hands me the phone. I get Meghan's voicemail and leave her a message. Liz offers to let me stay until Meg gets home, but since I don't know how long that could be and it's nearly 10:00, I decline and tell her I can sit on my porch until rescued.
So, I sit on the front porch and wait. It is a typical July night in St. Louis; hot and humid. After awhile, I realize that the porch light is shining on me like a spotlight, pointing out my stupidity to all the neighborhood. The light is also attracting bugs and they also seem to be attracted to the sweat on my neck and face.
I move to the lawn and out of the circle of light from the porch. J has worked out a deal to reduce his rent in exchange for mowing the lawn. Unfortunately, he has not done that since I moved in nearly a month ago. The grass is long and, it seems that tonight it is full of bugs crawling up my legs. I move back to the porch.
As it sit, I become aware of a large moth flying around the baskets of impatiens I have on the porch. After awhile, I decide it's a hummingbird. Then I realize it's not. It's a hummingbird moth. I've heard of them, but this was the first time I've seen one. I tell myself that if I hadn't been locked out, I wouldn't have seen it. OK, so I'm trying to find the positsive side of this. As I watch the moth, it starts to get blurry and I feel my head and limbs grow heavy. I remembered that I took a Tylenol PM before going down to the basement. It is kicking in.
In an effort to stay awake, I decide to walk on the sidewalk in front of my house. So I walk back and forth.....and back....and forth.....and back. I am amazed how many cars look like my daughter's in the dark. None of them stop, they all drive by. Back and forth....back and forth.....back and forth.....I see a car I'm sure is hers; but from a block away, I feel and hear the "boom boom" coming from the speakers. I think "That had better not be her." It drives past me and I think "What and I thinking!?!? I don't care how loud the stereo is. I want her here now!"
Instead....back and forth....and back.....and forth....I am stumbling some due to the Tylenol PM. From the back of my fuzzy mind, I remember the story of the mother of an acquaintance who had a mental breakdown and was picked up walking around town in the middle of the night in her nightgown.
I go back to the porch.
I hear the phone ringing in the living room. Since it is now about 10:30, it has to be Meghan calling to see if I'm still locked out. A few minutes later, the phone rings again. I stand at the window, look at the phone and yell out to it, "I'm still locked out! Do you think I got in and didn't call you? I'm not stupid!" I become aware of my situation and know at this point, I cannot win that argument.
The phone stops ringing and I sit down again to wait. A voice yells out, "Hello!" I see a man in a tank top and shorts walking across the lawns towards me. He introduces himself as "John" and explains that he is moving in two houses away. He doesn't want me to think he is some weirdo moving boxes late at night. Then he looks down at my nightgown which is now clinging to me because of the sweat. There are also bugs stuck to it. He stops talking.
I explain that I'm locked out. He pulls his eyes off my chest and looks at my eyes, then points to his house and offers to let me wait at his place. I decline, explaining that help is on the way.
John proceeds to tell me his life's story, which I really don't hear. I am too busy taking inventory. He is tanned, buff and somewhere in his 40's. No ring. Small tattoo on his right shoulder. Geen eyes? Or gray? Hard to tell. He continues to talk, but I am now taking inventory of myself and am too aware of my nightgown, the sweat, the bugs and the fact that I can feel my hair curling in the humidity. It is not a good look.
I think John is up to his college graduation, and my daughter pulls up. I get the "what have you done now, Mother" look. John says, "well, I see your key has arrived. Good talking to you. I'll be in touch." With that, he touches my sweaty shoulder, turns and lopes off across the lawns, disappearing in the dark.
I meet Meghan at her car, attempt to explain things as she stares at my nightgown and turns to look at the retreating John. As I walk back to the house, I see a full moon riding high in the sky above the house.
That explains it.
UPDATE: It is now the next night. Meghan just got home and walked in the door while talking to her sister on the cell phone. I heard her say, "Yeah, so does she use her time wisely and work on organizing the basement? No. I find her sitting on the porch in her nightgown --and nothing else-- talking to some random guy!"
I feel a disturbance in the force....much like that of offspring drafting commitment papers.