As if his failure to ever move out wasn’t enough, Noah quickly replaced me. While I hunched over my typewriter to work on a paper for Community Organizing one night, I heard a knock on his door. He answered. A female greeted him with, “God I had such an awful day!” Noah responded by inviting her in for some wine. I responded by turning into a mad, masochistic, paranoid, insanely jealous ex with a plan.
With both hands, I scrunched up all the hairs in the vicinity of my left ear, then tucked them tightly behind that ear. Next, I pulled a q-tip from my bathroom cabinet, thrust it into my ear and twisted frenetically, until I was certain I’d cleared out all remnants of excess wax. Then I entered the closet that bordered our apartments. In perhaps the most undignified moment of my life, barely upstaging my slipper-slippage-into-ladder ensemble, I pressed my ear against the closet wall and held my breath to hear exactly what was going on.
Truth is, I detected nothing but free flowing high pitched sound bites mixed with an occasional deeper toned blurb. But I convinced myself otherwise. They were going at it, I was sure. After a few minutes of eavesdropping, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I came out of the closet, secured a box of Kleenex and plopped down next to my phone.
“Ka, Kathryn, it’s Robyn. Am I bothering you?” I blew my nose into a tissue. “I just, I need a friend. Is this an okay time?”
"Of course Robyn. Are you alright?”
“No, I’m a mess. You know how I told you Noah’s still next door?”
“Yeah. Why? What’s going on?”
“God, Kat, I was finally getting over him, but then I heard some stupid whiny bitch at his door saying —I pinched my nostrils in to best imitate her— ‘God, I had such an awful day!’ And he’d rather be with her than me? What the hell! Then he f*ckin’ invites her in for a f*ckin’ drink and they’re on his couch now in our spot and he’s f*cking her brains out!” I blew snot into a gob of tissue. “Sorry. Ugh. I can’t believe I did this but I went into my closet to listen to them. I don’t know what came over me, I couldn’t help it. What the hell was I thinking, Kat, dating my nextdoor neighbor that” —sniffle— “bastard?”