The Stories I Could Tell You!

by Tina Blue
December 23, 2000

          I have to tell you this one. It's too bizarre not to share.

          About fifteen years ago, a thirty-six-year-old woman ("C"), her nineteen-year-old boyfriend ("R"), and her four-year-old son ("J") moved into the apartment next door to mine. I won't tell you even their first names. You'll soon understand why.

          Shortly after moving in, C cornered me at the mailbox. She was in a chatty mood, and she had some news she wanted to share. Something of the "Isn't it a small world!" variety. She could scarcely conceal her mirth as she informed me that she had just discovered that her boyfriend, R, was actually the baby she had given up for adoption when she was just seventeen.

          No, no, wait. That's not all.

          Even after they made that momentous discovery, C and R continued their involvement. As far as she could see, there was no reason not to. After all, she hadn't known him as a child, and they had never had a mother-son relationship.

          No, no, wait. There's more.

          One day, C came pounding at my door. R was at her place threatening her with a big knife, and she needed to use my phone to call the police. It seems R had caught her in bed with another man the previous day, and he was thoroughly drunk and really, really mad.

          "Where's J?" I asked frantically, "Where's J!"

          Oh, he was at the apartment with R, she said--and so, I discovered, were the three small children she babysat for!

          Obviously I had to go get J and the other children--one of whom was barely three months old. As I herded the children out of the apartment, keeping a wary eye on the guy with the knife and the agitated look in his eyes, R demanded that I tell him where his mother was. I told him she'd already called the police, and they were probably no more that a block away by then.

          That had the hoped for effect. R scurried to his car and screeched out of the parking lot.

          No, no, wait. There's more. Trust me, there's more.

          Several years later, when I took a cab to work one morning, I was very much taken aback when the cabdriver turned around with a big, friendly grin and greeted me like an old chum, "Hi! We used to be neighbors," he said. "Do you remember me?"

          Yep. It was R.

          What gets me is not just the incestuous relationship with his mother, or even the fact that it continued after they learned he was her son. Nor is it the fact that he had at one time been a jealous, knife-wielding boyfriend who posed a threat to his mother and four small children. No, what really blows my mind is the fact that none of this seemed even remotely anomalous to him, and he obviously could not imagine that anyone else might find it disturbing.

          He was delighted to see his former neighbor once more--and he fully expected that I would be equally delighted to see him.
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