It’s just after 11pm on a Tuesday as I close my eyes peacefully, welcoming sleep, when the front door blasts open. “Fuck You’s” and “You Worthless Piece of Shit’s” enter the two-bedroom apartment where I’m temporarily living. The vehement words shake the wood floor and walls, approaching the second bedroom next to mine. The slamming and screaming makes my body tremble.
I’ve heard this argument before. A few nights ago and a couple nights before that and a night before that. They argue and scream and slam, and then, in the silence of 4 am, a different kind of pounding erupts—the kind of making up.
I’ve only lived here for a week and a half, as a temporary solution while in escrow. I suddenly regret my decision to move down the hallway from my previously rented apartment instead of across the street into the drug-dealer occupied motel for $350 a week. I prefer drugs and sketchiness to violence.
The woman, whose condo this is, screams at her boyfriend like there are years and years of hurt and anger boiled up. They’ve been dating for a month. He’s an alcoholic with three DUIs yet still drives, she’s emotionally unstable with a 7-year-old daughter who’s fortunately not here tonight, and I’m uncomfortably motionless in bed, praying neither will remember I am privy to this outbreak.
The bedroom door slams again, words spew even louder, I hear two punches, and then silence falls.
I freeze, hold my breath, and, minutes later, the boyfriend cautiously knocks on and opens my door, his face resembling a boxer’s—bloody, bruised, distressed.
He says it’s his fault, he was being an idiot. “But I love her so much, we’re going to get married.”
Shocked, I listen to his words and calmly reply, “Okay, I hope it works out.”
Until now, I had no idea people actually fight like this. I realize now the phrase “behind closed doors” has a whole new meaning.
I can barely get men to follow through on plans. I can’t imagine how far they’d run if I screamed and threw a punch.
If I argue with you and/or don’t enjoy your company, I’m not going to spend time with you. Simple concept, right?
But I hear (about) it all the time: couples constantly arguing, fighting, and annoyed with each other over the stupidest shit, who don’t enjoy doing things together.
It doesn’t always show up as violence and screaming. Annoyance is equally unsettling.
“She didn’t want to bike to brunch because she wanted to wear high heels,” a mutual friend says about his girlfriend with a look of disgust. She strolls in thirty minutes later, high heels on, looking like she’s ready for the club. He’s still annoyed but gives her an obligatory kiss on the cheek.
Another mutual friend shaves her pubic hair before seeing the man with whom she’s having an affair. Her live-in boyfriend notices each time. But she won’t break up with him. She’ll just wait ’til he realizes it’s over. It’s been years.
Their homeostasis is a constant state of argument and annoyance.
I wonder: Are these relationships normalized because they exist?
Personally, I want a partner. I want to share my life with another. But must all this drama and abuse come with all those wants?
I lay in bed, contemplating: How am I single while these crazies have found their “soul mates”?