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We had just moved into our new house at the time in the insanely popular Long Island, New York. The house was a bit small for the neighborhood, but it was still a lot bigger, and more expensive, than our first house. I’ll never forget how terrible the house looked when we first got it, with puke-colored pale-yellow siding and black shutters. The hedges were so overgrown that they covered the entire first story window! Nobody had lived at 211 Jointner Avenue for over 50 years, dad said. The inside was amazing though and I had all the room I wanted to myself, including a separate gaming room. We moved in mid April two years ago but we’ve renovated a lot since. That was a new beginning for me, a new life.
It was hard for me to make friends at the local high school, being the newcomer and all. I didn’t have expensive clothes or a brand new car like the rest of the 17 year-olds did, but I was content with what I did have. I didn’t go out on Saturdays like everybody else, and I didn’t even have a best friend until a whole year later.
I spent most of my time sitting on an old wooden chair, peering out the window at my neighbors. It was actually quite an interesting thing to do. The small gray apartment building straight ahead of my own captured my attention the easiest. Up on the top level, the fifth floor, and all the way to the left was Miss Sarah. I took a particular interest in her.
“Oh, you stupid dumb things!!” I always heard her shouting random, violent accusations in the middle of the night. That is, every other night since she always has men over with her. Different night, different man; Miss Sarah must be extremely well-known around here, if you get my drift. It’s kind of odd though since I never see the men leave. It’s the same routine every time. A man and Miss Sarah go into her apartment at midnight, the bedroom light stays on for almost an hour, and then everything is silent. No lights, no noise, no anything. I actually stayed up one night to see what would happen, and that’s when I realized how crazy Miss Sarah really is. The light turns on in her side room and then she starts yelling obscure curses to nobody in particular. She beats and bangs around in this room for at least another hour until she finally retires to the bedroom again to sleep. The next morning, nobody leaves from her apartment except herself and the old couple on the floor below. I reckon she kills the men and butchers their corpses, but once I mentioned to my mother what I suspected, I was told to stop meddling in other people’s business. So I left it at that. Anyways, the couple under Miss Sarah’s floor are quite the opposite. Bill and Shirley are the typical old grandparents, always doing one of three things:
sitting on the couch watching television,
sitting on the couch watching television eating popcorn and peanuts, or
in the kitchen making popcorn and peanuts to take in the living room and eat on the couch while watching television.
These people are quite the country folk and mostly keep to themselves. The one downfall about Bill and Shirley, which supports my hypothesis about the murders, is that they occasionally ring up the poison control center and complain about a mysterious oozing red liquid staining their ceiling from the floor above. That means that the entire fourth floor needs to be evacuated for a day so these ‘experts’ can come and search for the origin of this substance. They’ve been there 7 times in the past year and still haven’t solved the mystery. I figure it’s blood from Miss Sarah’s butchering room.
A man named Tom lives in the apartment room next to Miss Sarah. Tom reminds me of one of those typical compulsive teenage boys, testosterone running wildly through his veins. He isn’t that old, maybe 25 at the most, and boy does he obsess over videogames. The same thing happens almost every night over there, that is, lights out at ten o’clock followed closely by the booming of his plasma TV until three in the morning. He lounges on his bright green couch right in front of the window, and throws his controller at the ground and screams a lot, so I’m assuming that he never gets too far in the game. But anyways, another interesting fact that I’ve discovered about Tom is that he has a secret relationship with a resident of the floor under his. Not just any resident, but a married resident. Her name is Rachel and she is absolutely beautiful. She has medium-length light brown hair always resting peacefully on her shoulders, with smooth ivory skin and dazzling sapphire eyes. She’s only been nice to me ever since I met her. I feel sorry for her though. I can hear the things her husband yells at her, and I see how he abuses her. I get really sad and angry when I see him hitting her, but there’s not much I can do about it without getting myself in trouble. See, her husband is a tough guy, probably just out of prison. Even the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I see that guy with his massive, muscular arms pouring out from his camo t-shirts. His name is Butch, and he just flat out scares me to death. I can’t imagine what poor Rachel must feel like, living with that man. One night I watched him beat her for 45 whole minutes just because she got home late! What a psycho!
Either way, Rachel’s got wit when she wants to sneak out. She softens Butch up and treats him like a baby, making him dinner and giving him little kisses every now and then. Afterward, she’ll pour him a glass of their strongest liquor and mix it with a rather large dosage of sleeping pills. That always knocks him out cold, still lying on the couch with the television on. I imagine this is probably illegal, but Butch beating Rachel is illegal too, right? A woman should never be treated like that.
Anyways, Rachel then slips out of the apartment, goes upstairs, and spends the night with Tom. The next morning, Butch wakes up to an empty bed, wondering where his wife has gone. “Where are you, Rachel?!” he screeches, fiercely opening the windows and calling down the street. His voice echoes deafeningly into my room all day long since he’s too lazy to close the windows back up. When Butch questions Rachel as to where she was when he woke up, she lies to him and says that she left early for work. “Well somebody’s got to get a good paycheck around her, Butch!” she hollers. Butch mostly just grunts and begins drinking again. How pathetic. Then they’ll both fall asleep again, Butch in the bed and Rachel on the sofa. When they wake up the cycle repeats itself. It’s sad; I hope I never grow up to be like that.
So now, here I am again. It’s been a year since we moved; a year since I discovered my fascination of these people’s everyday lives. A year since I found out what I definitely do not yearn to become in this world. All the guys at school say that they want truckloads money and fame and lots and lots of beautiful women. I’m not like them at all. I don’t want any of that. When I get older, I want to get married, and not be divorced. I don’t want to be a Butch or a Tom. I want to start a family and have a nice house, like this one, and support my wife and kids. Above all, I want my family to be happy no matter what.