We live in a cul-de-sac in our neighborhood. After a house fire in 2008, we started getting to know our neighbors better. By the end of 2011, my husband and I had become really good friends with the couple directly across the street from us. Last summer, they didn't have air conditioning and they spent four to five evenings a week in our home.
It was wonderful. She was a stay at home mother also. We would have coffee together most mornings. We planned shopping trips together, swapped babysitting, traded recipes and cooking duties for dinners. Her children were a lot older than ours, but loved coming over to play with them. Our husbands started going on bike rides together for exercise. They watched our home and dogs while we were on vacation last summer. Her mother came to visit from Pennsylvania and let me know how much my friendship meant to her daughter. I was touched.
In late summer, they began having financial difficulties. Checks went missing and were cashed. She accused another couple we had introduced to them. They let us know there was an investigation, she had seen the other couple on video cashing her checks. In the next few months, we discovered we were being lied to by the wife. The discoveries started small, but they began to snowball. We were getting ready to address our concerns with the husband, when our checks went missing. In the end, the neighbor's wife had defrauded her own accounts, accused our friends of the crime, stolen our money and tried to convince authorities I had given her the checks to buy groceries for me and just forgot.
I don't understand the motivation to do something like this to good friends. It has temporarily shaken my trust in people. An acquaintance offered to watch my children for fifteen minutes while I ran to the store to grab medication for my son. I couldn't take her up on it. I couldn't get past the fear of what might happen. I am more distant with new people I meet. I will be getting a new next door neighbor soon. I have no desire to meet them. One positive, we did not destroy our friendship with the other couple. We stepped back, but we waited for proof that we could see before cutting our ties. I am thankful that, although I believed the neighbor's lies, we waited for the hard evidence.
Everyday, I hear a car door, look up, and see her going about her business. Everyday I wish we had confronted her, but this wish is a double edged sword. We don't wish to feed her need for drama, her need to twist words to show herself as a victim. I haven't been able to step out of my home without obsessing over her and what happened. I wonder what my other neighbors think of us. We don't know them well, but she and her children do. I have been trapped in this nightmare of negative thinking. Breaking of trust hurts. It creates rage, pain and stress. The nightmare isn't a good or healthy place to live.
I have said to myself, 'I will not allow her to run me out of my own front yard!'. Only to realize, I have allowed it. The neighbor is outside in the cul-de-sac, and I decide to get the mail later. I herd the kids into the backyard so that I can avoid any awkwardness. With time, the pain and rage begin to die down. They get replaced by awkwardness and avoidance. The nightmare continued, only now, with different emotions.
How do you get past the pain and stress of betrayal when you see the individual everyday? This weekend, I took the kids out in the front yard. It was a beautiful evening and we played for a couple of hours. The neighbors came out and it no longer mattered. The nightmare is over for me. It is a new day and, today, I can look at her out my window and feel pity. She is going to have a felony record over a minor amount of money. Money she didn't even use for necessities for her or her family. I can finally let this go. This nightmare may haunt her the rest of her life, but I am out of it.
----------------------------This is my entry for LJ Idol: Exhibit B. This week was an intersection, and my partner is alycewilson. Her entry can be found here.
The topics were I Wake Up Strange and Oh, Lord, We're Not Talking ______Again, Are We?.