Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Art Imitates

“Listen,” he said, and I listened.

What we heard was the couple in the next apartment, their voices pressing through the walls with the urgency of conflict. A domestic situation, as they say.

“Should we be listening?” I asked.

“They know the walls are thin.”

And the argument escalated, words indiscernible, emotions projecting, louder and louder, the sounds of impending violence. Vitriol seeped through the drywall. Hatred penetrated the air ducts. Rage shook the air. The couple in the next apartment would not, it seemed, be a couple much longer.

“Should we call the police?” I wondered. If we called now, they might arrive before the unseen neighbors began heaving the cast iron at each other’s heads.

“Just wait.” He grinned, winked.

My stomach turned. Next door, she shrieked. He thundered. I shook, afraid for both of them, afraid for a world that allowed for such aggression between lovers.

“I’m scared,” I said.

“Hold on,” he said.

As the voices reached their fiercest pitch, I slumped in my seat, resigned. And the male voice, booming through the vents shifted tone, moved toward melody, and then exploded into song. The female voice joined in, lilting above it. They harmonized, sang a passionate duet, and then fell into silence. The walls hum with quiet resolution.

“Theater majors,” he explained. “They’re always doing musicals.” He sighed. “I love this apartment.”

I pushed back from the table and walked toward the door.