The yelling starts about two am and wakes us both up. It’s not unusual to wake at this time, bladders make sure of that. But you accept bladders, loud angry men is a different story. It’s not even Saturday night, so what is all this yelling about?
Out there, in the yelling department, one man in particular is holding court. The others voices are lesser, sounds like they’re trying to tell the main yeller to shut up. We can’t work out the words being shouted, except for the occasional, “Fuck!” Fuck cuts through. It’s the anger though that is most disturbing.
We both turn on our opposite sides and rearrange sheets and blankets and pillows and snuggle down. It will stop soon, we think. We haven’t spoken yet. We know what each other is thinking and what state of slumber we are in. Sleep with someone every night for an extended period and you don’t need to discuss these things, they are known, information exchanged by nocturnal osmosis, incubated in the warmth of human proximity and contact. Comforting.
Silence returns. We shuffle a bit more, snuggle down further. The angry man must have moved on. Just a small Thursday night aberration. Tomorrow’s Friday, everything’s fine on Fridays. Nothing, not even a shitstorm at work, can wreck Fridays. We feel ourselves and each other falling, sinking, drifting, transitioning into slumber. Warm feet touch.
He starts up again. This is ridiculous. He’s on his own now, shouting at no one, shouting at the moon maybe. It goes on and on. Again, words indiscernible. The anger palpable, clogging the clear night air, disturbing those in bed, like us. We shift around. Still no speaking required, an understanding that there is nothing to be done at this point, except attempting to shut him out, to exercise control over our own minds, to beat him by being unperturbed – able to sleep no matter what filth and disgust and insanity he spews into our neighbourhood.
It goes on.
We both wonder about the durability of his vocal chords. Surely they must wear out soon. Or, soon he will feel better from all that venting, surely. We wonder why the police haven’t arrived. Someone must have called the police. We haven’t called the police. Oh yeah, everyone else awoken by the angry man must be thinking the same. Someone will have called the police. They will be here soon. Surely.
I’ve had enough. “I’m going out for a look,” I say.
“Don’t approach him,” you say with that special loving concern you have for all creatures, including me, especially me.
“Don’t worry,” I say with a sense of self preservation that I chiefly credit to you. Without you, I’d be charging down there naked and stumbling into all sorts of strife. “I’m just going to see where he is so I can call the police and tell them where to head.”
I put on a t-shirt and shorts.
You get up and put on that fluffy white robe.
We walk out the front together. We have forgotten about the bindi-eyes. We support each other as we swipe the little pricks off our bare feet.
“There’s a group of people down at the Metro on the corner, I think they’re talking with him,” I say.
The yelling has stopped.
We go back inside and into bed. With a bit of luck we won’t need to call the police. We nestle into each other. Waiting. Hoping.
The group of people from down at the Metro are walking up past our place. We sit up in bed and look out onto the street. The glow from their mobile phones illuminates their faces. Two young men and three young women. It must be three am by now. The young people walk and post and talk quietly to each other. So considerate.
Without saying a word we thank the young people, and turn on our sides.