Some “experts” reinforce those first reactions, recommending that victims ignore their stalkers. As though turning a blind eye is all that’s necessary to resolve the problem. Up to this point in my story (one and a half years after moving into my duplex) that summarizes how I dealt with The Neighbor’s disturbing actions. Believing that putting distance between us, ignoring her, would be enough protection. Despite knowing something was deeply wrong, yet, not yet unearthing that I shared a wall with a serial stalker. Whose victims feared for their lives.
However, back then, without that information, ignoring The Neighbor was all I could do. I didn’t have enough evidence to pursue anything else. But I did start realizing that the longer I ignored The Neighbor, the more she pushed for my attention. Like, the time she flaunted her sexual prowess.
It happened on what should have remained a glorious springtime Saturday morning. I slowly woke to sunlight streaming across my bed. My sleeping cat intercepted it. A cracked window gave just enough of a cross breeze. Outside, birds sang. I lingered in bed. Being lazy. Taking it in.
Next door, The Neighbor started running a shower. Her pipes rattled, whooshing water through our shared wall. Her bathroom window, also open. The gentle splattering of her shower wafted into my home. Following closely behind it, The Neighbor’s sudden excruciatingly loud moaning! gasping! wailing! associated with pleasuring oneself.
It all happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to mourn the death of my Saturday morning. I just reacted: "Yeeeeeeck!" Spewed the f-word in a hissing staccato. Flipped onto my face. Pressed both pillows into my ears. All of which did precisely bupkis to drown out the erupting pleasure palace next door.
Exacerbating it? My brain conspiring against me. Dredging up Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself as a soundtrack.
"When there's no-one else in sight
In the crowded lonely night
Well I wait so long
For my love vibration
And I'm dancing with myself"
Some purist is going to grumble that, contrary to popular belief, the song isn’t actually about The Big M but rather it's about Japanese nightclubbing. Unfortunately, no amount of logic can counter a brain determined to pull up an earworm from an overplayed trash ‘80s hit. In fact, that logic was the last thing on my brain, as I desperately thought of ways to drown out Billy Idol's unholy duet with The Neighbor. “Doesn’t she realize I can hear that?”
Desperate to make it stop (moaning! gasping! wailing!), I decided to take my Dr. Martens, nicknamed “The Great Silencers,” out of retirement. My Docs are some of the few mementos I kept from the ‘90s, an era I typify as post-college, cheap apartment, thin walls. What makes these shoes so bloody awesome is that their thick-soled durability (which are stamped with a proud proclamation of being “oil, fat, acid, petrol, alkali resistant”) deliver a gratuitous resounding BOOM! when slammed against a wall.
f-word and pressing pillows to my ears didn’t help me then, either.)
Anyway. Sonic BOOMS! from angry Docs pounding on the wall saved the night. Who knows what would have happened Marci and friend had left New York and made it to New Jersey.
Back to the present crisis, I was pissed that being a responsible homeowner didn’t erase having to listen to a neighbor’s sexcapades. I was about to launch my Docs into orbit (one for The Neighbor and the other for Billy Idol) when another retro memory got pulled out of storage. It had to do with the movie Single White Female. The plot went something like this: girl gets roommate. Roommate gets obsessed with girl. Roommate does damage to girl. Girl runs like hell. The movie title briefly entered our college lingo as an idiom for an insane, obsessed, volatile woman.
That idiom that stopped me. Dawning on me, "Stop. The Neighbor kinda fits that description." Tailing on it, a flash intuition. “She wants you to hear her. Don’t let her know that you can. Don't throw anything at the shared wall.”
To be continued.