Wednesday, February 13, 2008


God. There were so many other things I was going to blog about today. For once, I actually had material. And then I learnt that my upstairs neighbour threw herself off her balcony last night.

She survived (because our washing line broke her fall on the way down), and is in intensive care.

You read news articles about people trying to kill themselves (and succeeding), but this is - quite literally - close to home. There is a stain on the parking lot below. How desperate must you be to fling yourself off a second storey balcony? Of course, the police are investigating the husband's possible involvement. I know this, because Crazy Dame Olga filled me in.

I think what perturbs me the most is that I heard it. Well, I heard something hitting something else. It woke me up at 12:21. I couldn't decide what exactly had woken me, but I was aware that it was a noise. And, I thought, the neighbours are at it again. Then there was the commotion in the entrance stairwell and I could hear that the 10-year-old daughter was upset and awake. And I thought, it's a school night... she should be in bed. But still, I didn't get up. Then I heard the sirens, but I didn't realise they were stopping in the parking lot behind our flats. I just thought, the damn neighbours are at it again.

"Ja, but we are fighting, so."

That sentence irritated for a full two days after he snapped at me last week. Now I feel like it haunts me. I know this all sounds melodramatic.

So, I'm in shock for three reasons. One, a desperate (or desperately unhappy) lady flung herself past our window last night. Two, I feel like I completely misjudged the situation. I shrugged off my colleagues' concerns when they told me I should've called the police when we heard fighting last Sunday. I'm not saying that would've stopped the unfortunate incident last night, but still. And three, I'm in shock because I feel like one of those people who did nothing.

Last night, I heard the commotion and I consciously refused to get out of bed, because I didn't want to let the noisy neighbours 'win' in disrupting my sleep. I was an apathetic ignoree. When I was mugged a few years back, I screamed blue murder in a suburban street. I'll never forget the fact that not one light came on, no one in the vicinity responded to a female voice screaming, "no leave me alone." I feel like I became one of those people who would rather not get involved last night.

Melodramatic. It's a completely different situation, but I just think about that woman and her traumatic cry for help. Mostly, I feel sorry for the kid. I heard her crying, and presumed it was because she was upset about her parents arguing (again). I heard it, and I tossed and turned - irritated that my neighbours had woken me up again.


Anonymous said...

We were just talking about fighting neighbours tonight to our son's girlfriend (she has had an incident in her flats this week too and we had the same problem when we lived in Craighall Park 30 years ago). We laughed about the fact that the man had wanted to throw himself off the 2nd floor onto the wash lines below ( I kid you not!!) and then he jumped onto the car the wife was trying to escape in. We then had the delightful view of his white Y-front jockey clad bum on the bonnet of the car as he hung onto the windscreen wipers while she tried to fling him off by driving in circles around the car park in full view of ALL the flat tenants at their bedroom windows in the middle of the night!! Sorry that your neighbours domestic strife has been the source of your anxiety and stress. And yes, the real victim is the child. It's very sad.......

Don't believe a word I write said...

Koekie, it is an impossible line to draw to decide when you should and should not intervene. I fear that as traumatised South Africans, we fear that getting involved could very likely result in us being harmed. I would have done the same thing you did (or didn't)...good or bad. Something called self-preservation guides us I believe, so cut yourself a little slack. You couldn't have prevented this woman from jumping. You could not have.

Koekie said...

I just keep thinking, how desperate must you be to fling yourself off a balcony? Hectic shit. I don't think I could've done anything, but I could've not done nothing.