How to wake up in Farmington

Just a couple days after my mom had died, I awoke at Tina’s apartment to news that my van had been hit by the neighbor. Chaos and madness ensued. Police were called. Twice.

Tina and the upstairs neighbors didn’t get along. I didn’t understand the apparent hostility between them until after Tina and I broke up. I got the impression that Tina was always trying to “win” some unseen battle with them. She looked for ways to tear them down or somehow prove their inadequacy as neighbors and tenants.

The upstairs neighbors, a young married couple had replaced one of Tina’s sex partners as tenants in the tri-plex in September, the same month Tina and I decided to take another shot at a relationship.

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Tina, I was told, said she was lonely, had no friends or boyfriend and the new neighbors tried to be friends with her.

One night that fall, Tina was drinking heavily with them in their garage and out of the blue said to the young mother, “I respect marriage, but I want to blow your husband.”

I guess that wasn’t taken very seriously, because she went into the house to check on their kids while Tina polished off a bottle of whiskey. When she came back out, Tina was trying to give her husband a lap dance.

That spelled the end of that budding friendship. Learning that, I finally understood all the weirdness between Tina and the neighbors.

Tina and I had decided to give it another try on September 11th (perhaps I should have paid more mind of the date). The neighbors had moved in on September 2nd. They later told me they were always seeing Tina come home with different guys. One day, the husband asked her which one was her boyfriend.

“I don’t have a boyfriend,” she told him. So the neighbors were understandably pretty surprised to hear she and I were engaged.

The young mother upstairs later told me that before I started moving in, Tina used to come home stinking drunk after three in the morning. Sometimes she was so out of it that she needed help unlocking the front door. Tina told her she was coming from work.

Tina drove an immediate and effective wedge between myself and the upstairs neighbors. I saw them several times a week, coming and going, but never stopped to engage them in conversation, unless absolutely necessary. Without even getting to know them, they were the enemy, because Tina said so. After we broke up, I learned that Tina had told them that I “don’t like people,” as a way to further discourage conversation.

It became pretty obvious, why she preferred an arrangement that minimized the communication between us.

It was Tina who’d urged me to park my van where I did the night before, leading to the upstairs neighbor hitting it while backing out of his garage. I usually parked around the corner and down the block in the winter. Another blow that struck the wedge deeper.


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