What will the neighbors think?

After reading a recent blogpost about neighbors by Kana Tyler, I couldn’t help but think about my neighbors and where we stand today.

I blogged about the vibe in my neighborhood awhile back, and it hasn’t changed much since then. I look forward to opportunities to chat with them, and they seem to squirm with feigned politeness when I do so.

I’d love to get back to “normal,” but what was once normal in our neighborhood was me staying put in a relationship in which I financially and emotionally supported a man who was prone to loud fits of name calling and blaming in front of the neighbors. Maybe they never actually heard the litany of awful names, or maybe they agreed with his assessments of me. Whatever it was, they’re not particularly friendly with me now that he’s gone and my fiancé has moved in.

I’ve tried to not sweat the fact that it seems like they’re going out of their way to not cross paths with me. When I return home from work and they’re scampering from their lawn into their house, that could just be a coincidence — a regular pattern, but likely just a coincidence. No need to get paranoid or worry that I will never actually talk with them again.

So now that my future stepson has moved in with us mid-schoolyear (and brought his dog with him to boot), I can’t help but wonder: “What will the neighbors think?” Will this be the catalyst that keeps us from salvaging our neighborly relationship?

It seemed that my fears were coming true. I had wanted to talk to our neighbors about this  sudden shift in living arrangements, but it all happened so fast. Just days after we sent him home from his spring break visit with us, he was returning with all of his stuff and his beloved dog. I tried to keep my eye out for a chance to catch the neighbors in neutral territory, but I should have just braved a knock at their front door. When they saw that our family was multiplying they looked confused and concerned.

It was only yesterday that I was able to talk with one of them for more than a simple hello. There had been a horrible fatality accident on the highway near our neighborhood that morning, and it gave us something to talk about other than the awkwardnesses between us. From there, I was able to segway into what’s going on with the boy and his dog, and about our upcoming nuptials. It was the first real conversation I’ve had with a neighbor in many months, and my first glimmer of hope that maybe someday we’ll be friends again. Here’s to hoping…

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