Sanctuary: So Beautiful on the Outside, So Ugly Inside

A talented artist and always beautifully dressed, my former duplex neighbor had an ugly heart.

She knew how to make her own clay tiles. She decorated her side with whimsical southwest-style tiles she had hand painted in brilliant, cheerful colors, though her own spirit seemed so pinched.

A skilled gardener, she planted sweet, delicate flowers while often frowning. Her indoor plants brought a lush warmness to her house that she herself lacked. Her indoor waterfall bubbled peacefully amid artwork and cleverly arranged wicker furniture.

“My home is my sanctuary, so when a baby cries the noise is annoying.”

She pounded the shared wall with angry fists whenever the kids cried, as if that would solve anything. She had sold us our half and had known we had a baby.

“It’s like when G cries. It’s an expression of distress.”

With a straight face, she compared her adult self fist pounding with actions made by a two-year old and a newborn.

“People with children should not live in duplexes.”

She thought she might control her surroundings entirely through nasty letters decrying the living choices of other people.

She sold her side two years later to a reasonable person with whom we have had no major difficulties.

She lived next to us to avoid paying taxes on real estate profits exceeding $250K that she had made when she sold us our half.

That time of “suffering” was her choice.

There are some people you encounter that you are glad when they leave your life forever.


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