Almost a couple of years ago I wrote about a weird incident I had with my neighbors and invited you to speculate with me about the origin of their weirdness.
After that incident I felt really weird being out in my yard in case I ran into them because they had such a strange vibe coming off them.
And then suddenly we didn't see them anymore and we thought they had gone away in the night.
And then it seemed like just as suddenly, their boy was over at our house every day, aggressively social, sometimes even walking into the house without knocking. He'd stay for long periods of time, even eating with us. I was an aggressive "check-in" kind of mom, calling his mom to ask if it was okay to feed him a hot dog or could he have juice or Kool-aid? Was it okay if he did such-and-such? I stopped calling her after a while because it didn't seem like she cared what he did or how long he was over here. I never saw the dad, but often would see her sitting out on the back step, smoking and staring off into space.
My oldest son told me that the boy's dad was in Afghanistan and I figured perhaps she was depressed and who knows what else was going on in her life. I wondered several times per week if we were going to get news that the dad had died over there or been seriously injured.
And then another woman showed up and two more boys my son's age. They ran around the yard together this rag-tag foursome. For a while it was really delightful to see them making up games, playing outside. I loved that Julius was getting out, had friends, appeared to be a leader in his group. Until it started getting all Lord of the Flies like it does with boys sometimes. One day the smallest boy whacked the next-to-largest boy upside the head with a big plastic machine gun. Blood gushed. I ran out and sent them all packing back to their strange and mysterious apartment with their strange and mysterious mothers and told them they could not play in the yard if they were going to behave like heathens.
Apparently they took me seriously because they never came back and within a week they all disappeared. Later we heard rumors that they moved off to some other location -- a town just under an hour from here.
Rob was outside the other day and ran into the landlord walking his burly, drooling dog. They chatted about neighbor gossip -- about a tenant we knew who left stealthily in the night after paying his rent with stolen money. And about the odd wife of a soldier reported to be in Afghanistan. The landlord described her as "crazy" and chuckled when Rob made sympathetic noises about her being married to a soldier during these hard times.
"Afghanistan? Hardly. He's in jail for trying to meet up with a thirteen year old girl. Turns out "she" was a county cop and now he's doing time in the pokey. Definitely not Afghanistan."
That one was definitely not on my radar and didn't make even make the Top 7 Possible Reasons my Neighbors are So Weird.
But at least now we know.