I got some terrible news yesterday. My neighbors, who have been married for 27 years and have two kids, are getting a divorce. It's terrible not because of the demise of a long marriage or because it will affect the children.
It's terrible because my neighbor, Jim, has the hots for me.
It started right after I moved in. I had met the widowed woman whose house I bought and she told me, "Jim next door has been a great help to me since my husband died last year." I thought, well, that's nice. He and his wife came over to welcome me and he said, "If there's anything you need, just let me know."
Apparently, they were close to the family who lived in my home because there's a gate leading from their yard into mine. Every time I was outside or would drive up from work, it was like Jim could smell me. Or maybe the GPS device he put under my car alerted him.
"Hi Christine!" and through the gate he would come.
After I adopted Bernie in 2007, it escalated. Bernie had a huge separation anxiety problem when I brought her home and she would howl and bark all day long. I worried that my neighbors on the opposite side would call the police since the husband works nights but they were fine.
I had given Jim my cell phone number and he called and left a message one afternoon.
"Hi Christine! It's Jim. Bernie's been barking all day. It doesn't look like she's done any damage, though, everything seems to be in order."
That's right. He was looking in my windows. And then he was upset that I didn’t call him back. “Didn’t you get my message? You didn’t call me back.” It got to the point where I hated coming home after work.
"Hi Christine! You were up late last night. Have trouble sleeping?"
"Hi Christine! You look nice today. I like your hair, your skirt, your glasses, your purse. You're so beautiful. Have you lost weight....." on and on and on.
I think my breaking point was when a friend who I had dated the year before came over to fix my lawn mower. As soon as Erik pulled into the driveway, I heard Jim's back door open.
"Hi Christine! Problem with your lawn mower?" as he opened the gate and came into the yard to check out Erik. I had told Erik about Jim so he wasn't very fond of him.
They had a pissing contest trying to deduce the problem with the lawn mower.
"I think it's this."
"No, maybe you should check that."
"Noooo....I already checked that. I'm sure it's this."
After Erik left, Jim came back over and said, "Was that White Truck?" Erik drove a white truck and used to stay over the house a lot.
I finally confronted Jim a few days later when I got home from work and was slipping my bra off under my blouse as he appeared at my deck door.
I told him that I valued his family as neighbors but that I thought he had crossed the line with his incessant calling and dropping by to "borrow some Windex." Of course, by then, I was no longer able to rationally discuss it and did everything short of shooting a gun off and telling him to get off my dang property 'fore I call the sheriff.
He slunk away and I didn't hear from him again for about 4 or 5 months. I knew then that I hadn't overreacted because an innocent person would have apologized immediately and told me that I had misinterpreted their advances.
We've made nice since then, maintaining a cordial distance but lately the calls have started up again.
"Hi Christine! I just wanted to let you know that I got a piece of your mail."
Well, then put it in my mailbox!
"Okay, thanks Jim. I'm not home(thank God)so go ahead and drop it in the box."
I was outside working in the yard yesterday when I heard the squeak of the gate door and could sense Jim moving closer.
"Hi Christine! I just wanted to let you know that Doris and I are getting a divorce."
Immediately, I pictured a For Sale sign going up in their yard. Jim will probably try to call me after he moves but I'll change my number. Yeah, that's it. I'll change my number.
Then, a handsome, single guy will move in and we'll start dating. We’ll fall in love and have to sell one of our houses…
I snapped back to reality, "Oh, no, Jim. I'm so sorry."
"Doris will be moving out but I'll be staying here with the kids."
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!the voice screamed out in my head as I replied,"Oh, I see."
I heard myself saying, "Let me know if you need anything," as the voice in my head shouted repeatedly, Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut UP!
Okay, God, what did I do to deserve this?
Is it because I took Your name in vain? You know, it really hurt when I walked into that wooden table and broke my baby toe.
Or is it because I tempted a man to commit adultery? I was 23 and he told me he was divorced. He also told me he loved me, which I believed. C’mon, I was 23.
And yes…yes…I admit. I coveted my neighbor’s donkey.
But aren’t you a loving, forgiving God? Isn’t there some other sort of penance I can perform?
Maybe I could eat ice cream without taking my Lactaid pill first?
Or date ugly guys?
Sit through an entire hockey game?
Pay full retail price?
I know we can work this out.