“YOU WANT ME TO CALL THE POLICE?” a male voice shouted. I looked around for the source of the commotion from where I stood waiting for my dog to finish sniffing the same spot he’d been sniffing for the past five minutes or so.
Across the street from where I stood, a side street branched off and a man and woman were standing on opposite sides of a car stopped shortly after the intersection. There were other vehicles parked around and I struggled to see what was happening, exactly, as the man continued to yell. The car was running and the driver’s side door was open so I thought perhaps this woman had rear-ended him and thrown him into a rage. I couldn’t make out all of what he was saying but I heard “YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CAR” and then the man started to walk toward the back of the car.
My dog finished smelling and finally decided to add his own urine to the small patch of neighbor’s grass and as we started to continue down the road, I could see that there was only one car parked in the middle of the side-street, engine still running, and exhaust clouding from the tail pipe. The man backed away from the car and I noticed he was holding a messenger back. Suddenly, he started to run away from the car and down the same street and direction my dog and I were walking, but on the opposite site. I think I might have chuckled at the odd sight of this young man, perhaps in his early or mid twenties with short dark curly hair and a mustache dressed in jeans and a camel-colored denim jacket, suddenly break into a run. The woman, a blonde of around the same age bundled in a scarf and winter coat and wearing big-framed glasses, had not said anything this whole time and as the man bolted away from her, she started after him but a much slower pace, perhaps not wanting to stray too far from the running vehicle.
I was openly watching the two at this point. I am kind of always on high alert when there’s potential violence and a perceived power differential and I felt a little rush of panic when the man stopped, spun around, and started running back the way he’d come, straight toward the woman. At first I thought he was running at her and I was ready to drop my dog’s leash and run over to intervene. I could see the woman tense up as well, but the man continued sprinting past her and got into the driver’s seat. As soon as she realized he wasn’t coming toward her, the woman rounded on her heel and got herself into the back seat of the passenger side before he could leave and as she started to close her door, I could hear him screaming “GET OUT” holding out the vowels of “out” in a high-pitched ragged shriek that had the quality of holding nothing back, of expelling extreme emotion. I watched as the car sped away from me down the side-street and I thought I could still hear him yelling even after the car was out of view.
I have been on the verge of tears constantly, lately. My suicidal ideation is through the roof, to where I’m starting to think about which specific date would have the least emotional impact with regard to holidays and the birthdays and anniversaries of my loved ones. Yesterday I was listening to an audiobook and I had to stop it because I started crying during the epilogue because it was set in the fall and I love the fall but when I think about the future and this coming fall, I only see darkness; my unemployment income will have run out by then and between trying to finish school and looking for a full-time job that will presumably be OK with me taking classes in the middle of the day, and between that and the calls I’m getting from my credit card companies because I haven’t paid any of them in months because I’m at the point where I can’t even afford groceries and it’s all just too much. I tried to sit down and write a paper that’s due tomorrow and I couldn’t focus because my mind would not stop distracting me: “How am I going to get dog food for my dog? He’s almost out!”; “My checking account is overdrawn by $500. How much food can I get from the grocery store with the $60 in my pocket and how can I make that last?”; “My roommate/ex is packing a bag… sounds like he’s getting ready for another weekend at his new boyfriend’s… the one he left me for that he started seeing while we were still together… I could ask him but it seems like he’s not talking to me… again… and also it’s going to hurt, no matter what the answer is…”; “Why doesn’t anyone want me?”
But watching this car speed away, I felt lighter. I don’t even know what they were fighting about, if you could call it a fight. I wondered about this woman’s resolve to withstand being screamed at and still get back in the car. I wondered if maybe she’d done something to hurt this man and that’s why he was so upset. It sounded like rage but it also sounded like pain. And I don’t know if it was a sense of camaraderie or schadenfreude but, though things still feel bad, they somehow don’t feel as bad. There’s something stabilizing about seeing someone else lose their shit. idk