Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dead Body

In the last days of our staying at the Tiverton house my wife decided she was in love with a Harvard graduate recovering drug addict current lab worker at UCLA. She was going home to Hungary in a few weeks where the police wanted me for questioning: she'd complained one day that I'd wanted to go home when she didn't want me to, and ever since, going on two years, the police had been investigating. She refused to take care of this, not her problem. She had her own problems: she was going to Hungary to appear in court and face an accusation herself: her previous husband had accused her of fraud. And, as she often reminded me, her American permanent residency visa was about to be issued so she didn't need me anymore. I could go whenever I wanted.

More than a year later, at the Westwood Public Library a young man walked up and said hello. He had news: a dead body had just been discovered in one of the apartments. The police were there.

He reminded me he used to be my neighbor. The Tiverton apartment house was the cheapest place in an expensive neighborhood. A strange building, sinister place. And you? I asked. Are you sinister too? He'd been retired out of the military on a pension, though still a young man. And me? Did he think of me as sinister? No, just an isolated white guy.

Isolation was the key to the building's character. You had to be isolated if, knowing you live in a country that cares only about success, you choose a moneyed area to live in having none of your own. That means you are hiding.

There were the advanced dental students who fought with each other and could talk of nothing else than exploitation by their teachers, the insane man who walked the neighborhood all day holding in his hand a paper soft drink cup and continually turning his head around to see what's behind him. The old lady who lived next door to me and wife who continually had her nose to our window to see what was happening inside, the (as gossip had it) certified child molester who bought and sold sound equipment living across the small courtyard from us. Otherwise a nice place.

- I want to move out. Everyone moves out who cares about staying sane.
- It's reassuring to hear that. Sometimes I regret leaving. My wife was making me crazy.
- The building was making you crazy. You can't help being affected.
- I left, went traveling, returned. My wife left, moved in with a recovering drug addict Harvard graduate, went traveling, returned, took up with a Beverly Hills doctor. We're both back In L.A.
- But not dead!