A dog barks. No one complains.
A baby cries. No one complains.
A woman screams as plates shatter against a wall. No one complains.
Rap music blares, sirens in the distance, and yet no one complains.
They’re all used to it around here.
I wake to a car struggling to start. An engine clicks as someone’s day takes a different route. Now they’ll have to wait for their friend to give them a jump or call someone for a ride. Or even worse, call a tow truck. These people don’t have money for car repairs.
They flick their cigarette and try again. It starts this time.
A van pulls up. They lay into their their horn. It wakes me up. I don’t complain, no one does. It’s well after 11pm now.
People don’t seem to be in a hurry around here. But they all have jobs, they got kids, and problems.
They hold the cries of their children in the oil stains of their denim jeans.
In the bags under their tired eyes.
In the turn of their heads avoiding my nod, when I pass them by the communal mailboxes.
It’s well after 2am. I hear two men outside — yelling and carrying on. I push my blinds aside and peek out.
Middle-aged, one black and one white. Their jeans baggy. Straight bill hats and cigarettes hang from their lips. When they exhale, the smoke and their warm breath mix together, to form a fog that surrounds them.
I lie back down and try to sleep.
“I’m not going to jail for this shit!” One yells.
I jump up and push my shades aside.
The black man gets into the passenger side of a White Bronco, just like the one OJ Simpson drove away in. The white man is now by the entrance. From my angle, I can only see half of him. He’s looking up, talking to someone through a window.
“Let him in, I can handle the cold, but he can’t. If you love your father at all, you’d let him come inside. I know he’s drunk, I’m drunk, we’re all drunk,” He pleads.
The women responds, but it’s muffled and I can’t understand her.
A pause and the man takes a big hit of his cigarette and exhales his fog.
And then I hear her: “He’s got to learn!”
The man flicks his cigarette and loses his patience.
“He’s got to learn?! Everyone’s got to learn, come on, let him come inside!”
There’s no response.
He shrugs in defeat and retreats to the Bronco. He says something under his breath and gets into the driver’s side. The Bronco rumbles and turns over. Exhaust spits from the tail pipe.
And there it sits.
I lie back down and close my eyes.
Everyone has got to learn and we’re all complaining.