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A NEIGHBORLY GESTURE
by Richard L. Provencher
6/21/2008 / Humor
My favorite singer's golden voice sweetly curls through my open window and caresses both eardrums. Its popular blend of rich chords with words of love has a depth of meaning accepted readily for one such as I, delightfully married for 30 years.
And I dwell on the message of affection, staring fondly at my wife alongside. How appropriate is the message, in this day of stress and impatient moments.
Sleeping is a natural event, the replenishing of human bodies and necessary for cells used, abused and lost through normal daily activities. And when singing wends its way into my ears at 12:30 am, it can be a distracting influence on my nightly hibernation needs.
Caught up in the moment of my awakening desire, I reach lovingly for my wife who promptly snuffles a tired statement and turns on her opposite side. Yes, we are both spent after a busy day and need our snooze.
After all, when one tumbles past the magic age of 60, human desires must be realistic. There is a time and a space, or is it a place for everything?
And many wonderful references regarding the right time for all seasons are stated in the Ecclesiastes section of our Bible. We have several editions in our home, New Living, King James, and New International Version to name a few. We believe those words of strength, are spiritual body builders.
Setting aside my thoughts, I try to sleep. It is difficult avoiding the refrains from that catchy musical score. I tell myself, "Close your ears to the boom-boom of the next song blasting its way from somewhere outside my bedroom window." It's dark, late and I am worn out.
Jealously I look at the silhouetted form of my wife in peaceful solitude, lost in the slumber of her own exhaustion. I kiss her cheek to alleviate my stress.
I can't seem to emulate her cocoon of comfort. Turning restlessly, trying to recapture the bliss in curled up respite, limbs nestled snugly against her. I feel hot. Agitated by the unwelcome music I sit up tossing covers from my side of the bed.
"Get up," I command myself. "Walk around. Look out the windows." Our second floor apartment is adequate for an escape from June bugs, nibbling mosquitoes and noisy street people.
But those music tones are able to latch onto the side of our building, adjacent our bedroom window, of course. They move forward like an colony on the march. I imagine them crawling up the side of my right leg, across the soft velvet of my robe, up to my scratchy new day's growth of beard. And commence tickling my ears with their annoyance.
It's now almost one o'clock am.
"No, no, I cry inwardly," I must sleep. I am so weary. Back to bed, song now replaced by a commercial. Yes, the source of my anxiety. It definitely is a radio crooning delightful phrases from a Canadian diva seemingly in living color within my eardrums.
Now the commercial sales pitch shrieks its unwanted decibels into my ears. "Okay, I give up. I'll buy those snowshoes." Wearily back to bed, torn slippers falling from my feet, robe catching on the doorknob. The shrill sound of living room chimes follow me in a plodding return to the now cold recess of my covers.
Up again. I shake my head wearily to the shrill sounds of hockey news. Did someone outside turn up the radio? I really don't care if Anaheim did win the hockey game, 5-2.
My anxious charge leads me to the verandah where I finally discover where the blatant music is coming from. It is no longer soothing, like erratic chortles from a bothersome raccoon. It definitely does not belong to my neighbor upstairs next door or downstairs, with whom I have had unnecessary breathing exercises.
On one occasion I am blamed for the noise from my early shower. The other gave me challenging glances as I tried to breathe with his cigar trailing smoke in a direct line to my nostrils.
And now the source of my mistreatment is easily seen. It's across the yard behind the fence, by the homemade pool with a bubbling waterfall.
In my haste from bed to back porch I discover my only apparel is underwear, t-shirt and bare feet. It must have rained in-between my developing headache, feet now damp from the back porch, skin pinched between the boards.
Sounds filtered between branches draped in leaves assail my brain. No longer satisfied to hold back my impatience, I am close to a nasty retaliation. That back of the porch, over the fence un-neighbor, is challenging my animal instincts.
Since I plan to return to the comfort of bed, I try to dream my ordeal away. Slipping into fantasy my thoughts scale downward from our verandah, drop to the grass silent as a panther, then climb the neighbor's fence, leaving a few skin parts on rough planks.
Then I grasp the radio on the patio table and gleefully walk robot-like to the neighbor's tumbling waterfall.
Looking about, I realize this is no dream. Imagine the idiocy of my standing in the neighbor's yard at 2 am. Feet damp, knee bloodied, underwear ripped, no t-shirt (I used it to protect my hands in scaling their fence) holding onto a miniature portable radio, with the sound button on full throttle?
Clenching my teeth with unimagined joy I plunge full body along with the offending machine into the deepest part of the pond.
Well I always wondered whether this tiny body of water was capable of sustaining goldfish. Now I stood in chill water up to my belly button wondering if this was sufficient depth to accommodate any alligator pet. The offending thought helped me make a dripping rush, retracing my steps, finally collapsing on my side of the bed.
Ah, nothing is capable of bothering me now. Or, so I erroneously thought.
Persistent alarm rings from both sides of the matrimonial bed not only disturb my eyelids but also arouse me in disbelief. I roll over, moan, notice my wife watching me with a puzzled look.
She looks fresh, rested; her huge smile impossible to resist. Suddenly I recall with horror, scenes, events and that awful disturbing radio blaring, on and on.
I shake my head; making my way to the bathroom. Is it even possible the events
are part of a horrible dream?
Bleary eyes stare back from the mirror.
* * *
Richard L. Provencher 2007
Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
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