Changing Neighbors

I have lived in Kula for just about two years. I have a tiny apartment under the main house where the landlady lived. In an adjacent cottage is a 30ish couple. The yard is shared. We grow herbs and share. The cottage renters, Jerry and Sandy take care of several feral cats. We all get along. We carry cookies and muffins between houses. Sandy makes delicious organic soups, salads, organic oatmeal and granola. I have a running order for her weekly surprises. She delivers all over up country. Our landlady, Cheryl, is a landscaper. Consequently we have trees, shrubs, plants ablaze with color all year long.

About six months ago Cheryl decided to sell her business and travel around the world. So we got new neighbors upstairs…Barry and Terri. A super fun couple–a little rowdy, a little wild, joyous. They fit right in. They were previous owners of a catering service specializing in pastries. Yes, fit right in. We had wonderful barbecues in the yard around a fire pit. We drank wine or had a cocktail. We would have cedar-plank salmon or chicken, corn on the cob and s’mores. Last summer was a fun time of the year in Kula. However, our fun came to an end when Barry was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and the couple decided to move back to the Mainland to be closer to family.

So, in moves Linda. At first she seemed perfect. She was taking tests to become a realtor. She had a good selection of music that I could occasionally hear. She is in her early sixties, I was hoping for a kindred spirit.  But, this was not the case. At first we weren’t sure why her personality seemed to be changing. She didn’t go to work. She was home all day. It didn’t take long to realize she was drinking. Not just a glass of wine or two, but two or three bottles in the morning. By evening she was bumping around her house. She started wearing a black and white striped skirt that did not change for weeks. One night she came to my house and, through tears, told me she had been raped by her Caucasian tennis partner. I flipped. She assured me she had called the police, had a rape kit done at Kula Hospital. I fed her dinner, but during the time spent together she kept asking if she should call the police. Some other things weren’t adding up. She was telling the story with different details. So, the next morning, I mentioned it to Sandy. She laughed! What? She then told me that Linda had told her a couple of days before that she had leukemia. A friend had gone through a litany of “diseases” with her. Then about a half hour later, our gardener knocked on my door and told me Linda told him she had been raped by a black man who came across the yard. He was upset because he has two young daughters.  I assured him this was a fabrication.

Since then we’ve had the police knocking on our doors a couple times a week. When they get a report of a rape, it’s something they can’t ignore. Within the last week, she has been raped by a black and a white man in a Camaro, raped by a bicycle rider, a black man who hit her over the head with a baseball bat and raped her, an assault with a baseball bat and then the man jumped off her balcony. She has had leukemia, flu, breast cancer. She has been taken off to jail in a police car, taken away on a stretcher to the hospital. She been in rehab but checks out in a few days to go to the market. She’s back within a few hours or a few days carrying huge bags of wine bottles. She decided she needed a roommate so she found a man on Craig’s List. He was a older man. I was so afraid for him. If she charged him with rape, since he would be right there and handy, he would be arrested. So, I suggested Jerry talk to him. He has decided to find another place. Our landlady has issued an eviction notice. We are counting the days. I’m now wondering if Linda will even remember getting the notice. She remembers very little. I feel sorry for her. We have all tried to help at one time or another to no avail. We are getting tired of being embroiled in her drama. She needs help but doesn’t feel she needs help. She is losing friends who are getting tired of being called at odd times with crazy stories. I wonder if she is so far gone that she doesn’t even know what she is doing to her life.

She was given 45 days to find a new place. I don’t know if she will have enough of a state of mind to find another apartment.

Cheryl will be back by the end of July. So, the police will have their work cut out for them during the next six weeks.

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