Today we start from scratch, the suggested topic doesn’t do it for me. I don’t really know my neighbours so I don’t feel qualified to write about me from their perspective. It seems a pretty odd idea anyway. How many of us really know our neighbours? This then is a variation on that theme, based on true life not necessarily mine or anyone who might recognise themselves.
Like a lot of people we used to chat at the school gate to other parents while waiting for the little ones to be let out and over time you get to know a few. Some better than others. Your kids are the same age and one thing leads to another and before you know it they’re coming to play and having tea. This is generally a reciprocal arrangement and it’s usually not too long, if you get on well, that the subject of dinner enters the conversation. At this point you either confirm your friendship by accepting the invitation or risk committing social suicide by declining their kind offer. Nine times out of ten the dads haven’t met, but lets not worry about that they can always chat about the kids or cars, best not to get onto religion or politics. Money is another minefield best avoided.
So off you go to your blind date on a Saturday night all dressed up to eat heaven knows what and make small talk all the while hoping they’re not going to turn out to be crashing bores and praying that the baby sitter isn’t emptying the drinks bottles back home. At least you have an excuse to escape. Assuming it all goes well a return fixture is usually arranged and so it will continue until the kids fall out or something else happens to upset the equilibrium.
One day something did come along and it changed everything. They split up. Much tears and wringing of hands, the husband had left. Upped and gone, after many years of supposedly happy married life he had decided it was time to leave. One assumes he had excellent reasons for arriving at this life changing decision. I never saw him again and that’s the point really. There is a very good chance you will only ever hear one side of the story. How well do you know what goes on inside your neighbour’s home after they draw the curtains and close the door. Why should you know anything? As the partner of the loyal friend I was instantly drafted into the wife’s camp. I would have liked to know why he left but that didn’t appear to be an option, he was no longer part of the scene. He had obtained pariah status.
I imagine this happens all the time, couples split up, people take sides. It would seem that you can’t remain friends with both parties. Why? It takes two to argue, to fall out, to split up. Balance is important, you need all the information before drawing a conclusion.
The postscript to this sorry tale is that you might reasonably imagine that this man left to be with another woman, that is usually the way it goes. In this case you would be very wrong, I eventually found out he left to be with another man. He certainly fooled me I had no idea.
That is why I will not presume to know what my neighbour thinks of me nor am I prepared to offer an opinion about him.