I Just Want To Know If I Killed Her

That title seemed dramatic when I started this post a week ago. At this point, it’s true. 

I just really need to know if my neighbor is alive and well. At least alive. At some point I will have to take my husband’s advice, suck it up and go there and ASK to see her, to talk to her. That may be the only way to know for sure.

There could be a perfectly logical explanation for why I haven’t seen her since that day. I’ll give you the whole story and maybe you could tell me what that would be.

I met a new neighbor a few weeks ago, and I may have inadvertently murdered her. Or not. There is no proof that I did. Is there? No. Of course not. You have to have intent for it to be murder, right? Or motive. Are those the same?

Anyway, where is she?

I’ll tell you the back story. You tell me what you think. Like I said, there could be a perfectly logical explanation why someone just completely disappears for weeks after spending a couple hours with me. Sure, she could just be avoiding me. I wouldn't even be surprised. But she also? Could be in need of help. Let me explain.

The story begins 4 weeks ago now, and I wish I remembered exactly how it went down, but that was many, many beers ago and my memory is sketchy at best. Sometimes I remember a scene clearly, usually I only get bits and pieces. 

Why? Who knows. 
Booze? Hypothyroid Brain Fog? Sleep deprivation? 
Holes in my brain from all the combinations of anti-depressants and sleep aids in my 20’s? 
My brain is too full with trying to keep the Game of Thrones characters straight? 
Most likely a perfect shitstorm of all.

What I remember goes like this.

I met a new neighbor 4 weeks ago, from 2 houses down. After a few times of waiving on our way out, or back into our house, she finally came over with her 5 yr old daughter and brought water balloons. 

We had a grand old time, the kids tore through the water balloons in record time, she made more, we had some wine and chatted for awhile. We got along really well, a rare occurence for me, almost like we were old friends. It was lovely. It started to rain, so she and her daughter went home, leaving behind their bucket and the water balloons. I promised to return them.

I had to go back to my Instagram to remember exactly WHEN I posted this picture. It was June 19, so an entire month ago.
From my instagram http://instagram.com/p/pcK8LSEFeO/?modal=true
Under the picture, I wrote: 
I met a new neighbor, she asked me HOW I have 3 kids and watch extra kids, so I showed her. Yeah, I like this one. #ThirstyThursday #wineoclock #drank”

Those hashtags mock me now. I probably just should have deleted that picture, before it winds up as Exhibit Whatever: Evidence for the prosecution, for the jury to examine. Like this post.

I don’t know if I did anything wrong. I don’t feel I did anything illegal or immoral, but aren’t prisons full of people who say that? Ignorance is not a defense. Wait, is it? I might need to know this.

Back to the story.

I finally returned their bucket last weekend. Well, we had been on vacation and doing projects around the house, and it’s no secret I’m socially awkward so I wanted to give it some space. Like that "no call or text for 3 days" rule that guys have after a date. But for neighbors.

In the bucket I put a bag full of items to Welcome them to the neighborhood, and also their new son. They were about to adopt a boy. She was nervous, she wasn’t sure how her daughter would adjust to the situation. Her 5 year old has a textbook case of “First and Only Child Syndrome.” She’s very high spirited....which is the nicest way I know to say bratty.

I mean like most American kids are bratty, not like dissecting animals in her bedroom bratty. She filled their bucket with water and dumped it right on her mom’s face, even though the mom said “You better NOT do that.” That’s the worst thing she did. Kids, right?

Anyway, in the bag I brought them snacks for the kids, paper, crayons, crafty-type things and 2 bottles of wine. We had shared half a bottle, and I wasn’t sure if she preferred red or white, so I got a bottle of both. I put something about having a drink when she’s ready on the note and included my phone number, telling her to call or text anytime for playdates, or just whatever.

It really just seemed like a nice gesture at the time.

I wish I could take it back. The note, at least.

When I dropped off her bucket with my gift bag, I had an awkward moment. To put it nicely.

Her husband answered the door, looking stressed. Understandable, two kids, summer, etc.

I explained who I was and handed over the bucket saying,
“Your wife left this in our yard awhile ago.” He looked confused.
“She did?” He looked at me like he didn’t believe me.
Why in seven hells would anyone make that up?

I shrugged it off and offered him the bag, explaining I wanted to Welcome them.

“Well, that’s nice of you,” he started, suspiciously eyeballing the items in the bag, and then, in a very frustrated voice:
“You can keep the wine.”

THIS is when, again, I totally locked up at a loss for words. 

Who tells someone to keep a gift? If you don't like it, aren't you supposed to just say,
"Thank you,"
and get rid of whatever it is on your end? AFTER the person leaves? Isn't that how re-gifting was born?

My brain started whirling like crazy, and I remembered in a flash a few days before when we were walking past their house on our evening walk. The Dad and daughter were on the driveway.

Walking past, we all waved to them. I was sure the daughter would remember us. She gave a small wave back and immediately looked to her Dad. The Dad just gave us an angry-ish look I didn’t understand.

Don't even act like I'm being a drama queen.
That is weird.
They just moved here. I waved to them. He did not wave back. 
I had never even said one word to this guy.
What the?
Was this guy just a jerk?
Are they all under great stress?

The boy they recently adopted was coming from a crowded orphanage from another country, and she was worried. He was 5 but more on a level of a toddler, she was told. He was never potty trained. He didn’t speak any English, and they didn’t speak any....His Language (whatever it is, can’t remember,) etc.

I immediately mentally traveled back in time to when she came over to visit, and we had wine. Why did I need to know that right then? I don’t know. Other than my natural reaction to any conflict is:

He tipped the bag toward me, as in ‘go ahead, take it,’ so I awkwardly lifted out both bottles, trying to force my brain to make words. I had no way of knowing which words would be inappropriate. Even if I had understood what was really going on, which I still do NOT, I've made it known my brain is not equipped to deal with serious adult situations.

I managed to stutter out, “I’m sorry,” and he offered nothing in return. Neither of us were sure what I was sorry about, and he added sourly,
“My wife’s in the club.”   

The Club? A wine club?
No, asshole, THEE CLUB. Bill William’s club, you big dumb dummy. And YOU GAVE HER WINE. All I could do was try to remember, did SHE asked for wine that day?
Or did I offer?
I know I don’t just offer BOOZE to people I just met out of the blue at 2:00 in the afternoon.

I learned this the hard way.

Many people don’t drink, because of reasons. They may be very religious, alcoholism may be a family issue, or it might be NONE OF MY GAHTDAMN BUSINESS.
I know, it’s always that last thing, and my curiosity doesn’t mean anyone owes me an explanation.

I knew I needed to say something, or at least get out of there.

I needed to stop thinking about all that other stuff right now, and a NEW fact that just popped into my head:
I have not in fact seen this woman OUTSIDE of the house since that afternoon. 3 weeks ago.

I willed myself back to that moment but all I could think of was apologizing again.
NO, don’t do that.
SAY SOMETHING. Say something neighborly, something vague, ANYTHING.

I said something like, 
“Okay, well we don’t want to take up too much of your time, just wanted to say Welcome…” My daughter said something, and he said something back to her about her shoes and the Minnie Mouse she was holding.

I started physically backing away, smiling lamely, and we quickly left, with me trying to balance two bottles of wine and awkwardly trying to also hold her hand. We had to go back in the street, even though we were only walking two houses over, because I didn’t want to walk through my next-door neighbors yard. I didn't want them to see me. 

Because everyone knows you’re invisible in the street, right? Idiot.

So that was last weekend, and I have hardly been able to think about anything else. I also haven’t heard, or seen, the woman yet. My husband half-joked that she’s not allowed to go outside because he beat her about the face for having a drink with me. He was joking. I hope. I keep wondering. 

Why isn’t she going outside with her kids? Or at all.

I see him outside. I see the kids outside. I see what looks like a Grandmother outside often with them. Did the Grandmother have to come because the Mom fell off the wagon? Or was Humpty Dumpty PUSHED, by a boozy neighbor?

WHERE is the Mom? 

How is she? Is she inside? Is she embarrassed to come out for some reason? Is she not allowed to come out? Is she unable to come outside for some reason? Did she have to go to rehab because of me? How long are people usually there, it’s a month right? DANG, what if I caused a mother of 2 children, one of whom was just adopted from another country, to be away from the family that needs her? Right when they need her the most.

What if I drove a wedge between their family and these children are now going to be children of divorce? What if after having wine with me they got into a big fight? OHMYGOD, did he kill her?! Could that be why I haven't seen her? Did I do that? 

No, if he killed her why would he make me take back the wine and say that bit about the club? To throw off suspicion. That's why. They just moved here. Maybe they had to move away from the old neighbors because they gave her booze and now....

I have tried, time and again to remember the day, and specifically the part of the day when I offered beverages. I know, she’s an adult, I don’t have the physical strength to force anything on anyone. I literally can’t force my 2-year-old to take a dropper full of ibuprofen, let alone an adult. I also need to not feel tremendous guilt about this.

When I think back about the day, I remember offering lemonade. I had been on a lemonade with real lemons kick lately. I like to show off to other adults that I’m a GOOD MOM, no high fructose corn syrup here folks, so I know I offered lemonade.

She must not have wanted that, next I went into the whole schpeal about soda. I can make several flavors of soda without prior notice thanks to our soda maker. I’m always screaming about this thing, I love it. But somehow I wound up serving wine.

I remember her saying, 
“What are you going to have?” 

I was thinking lemonade. I remember some talk about a drink. Like a drink drink, and I was surprised (so that means it was NOT MY IDEA, jurors) and I was scrambling to think what kind of booze we have. See, we don’t keep a lot of liquor around, because TEENAGERS, but we do have some. I hide it in refillable Capri-Sun bags in the freezer and get rid of the bottles. Then I have to try to remember what kind it is in there. 

RUM. I knew I had rum leftover from vacation. 
Rum and lemonade? That sounded delicious to me. 
She wasn’t going for it. 
We had a couple beers left from the vacation cooler.
Not digging it.
Wine? Women love wine.

I eventually remembered my husband bought me a mini wine refrigerator our first year here, for keeping white wine behind the bar. You can set it really low so it doesn’t use a lot of electricity, but you have wine that is at least not warm if you suddenly need wine. This is downstairs, buried and hidden under the bar, which works well so the teenagers (and so I) don’t DRINK all the wine. I knew there were a couple bottles in there.

Yes, somehow we wound up with wine. THIS is how I know it wasn’t my idea. I only drink wine socially. I like wine, it's delicious, but I drink it too quickly and get a headache. I prefer beer or hard liquor with a LOT of juice or soda, because I am not a fan of hangovers. Wine = hangover.

Though, we were good. We didn’t even finish half a bottle between the two of us. My husband and I finished the wine with dinner that night. She could not have had more than a glass. She wasn’t buzzed, or drunk, she was dealing with her daughter. Throwing a bucket of water in her face. That would sober anyone up, am I right? Okay, that’s not going to be funny if she turns up dead. Or in rehab.

There could be a perfectly good explanation. Maybe she didn’t even drink that glass of wine. Maybe she dumped it out, and was just being social? Okay yeah, I might be reaching here.

I just want to know she’s alive. Not only because I was thinking I would finally have a neighbor I got along with, but for her. Her kids. Her family.

I also don't want to be responsible for ruining a family.

Mostly, I just want to know I didn’t kill her.


  1. This is so "Rear Window." Can you see their house from yours? Has the husband been doing any late-night gardening? Please keep us posted!

    1. Isn't it? I mean it IS odd, right? I'm trying not to over-react but it's been a minute since I've seen her. I can see a portion of their backyard, maybe 10 square feet? And most of that is a big jungle gym/swing set type thing that is brand new. OH GOD, what if he buried her in the backyard and then put the swing set/jungle gym thing OVER where he buried her??? I'll be outside all day if anyone needs me. Keeping a dang EYE OUT.

  2. I don't even have anything funny or snarky to say. I just want to know what the hell happened.

    Okay, okay, maybe I do have something snarky.

    "It was Colonel Mustard in the backdoor with the lead pipe."

    Giggle giggle.

    1. I KNOW. I SERIOUSLY hope I can laugh about this too. Soon. And not "It was the booze-hound neighbor with wine and allegedly good intentions" kind of joke either. I have to go there. If no one ever hears from me again, they live TWO DOORS DOWN, to the East. He's about 6 feet tall with brown hair, beard scruff like a few days without shaving, and a sour face. Avenge my death! Or at least blog about it?

  3. Shit got real! Hope she's okay! Wow!

    But yeah - that's a tough one, because for pretty much *anyone* else, there'd be no problem. And she could have said "no" at any point, and you KNOW you offered other things. I think you're absolved on this point...

    1. I KNOW!
      Thanks for reading and for your kind words. I tend to feel guilty, long story, because I have done so very many stupid things in the past.

  4. No one is responsible for an alcoholic's drinking except themselves. You know that saying that for alcoholics one drink is too many and a thousand is not enough? If she is a friend of Bill's, she might have had that one glass of wine at your place and then took the kids home and got blotto. My guess is she's in rehab or just avoiding you so as not to be tempted again to use you as a supplier.

    1. This is very true. They need to be in control, or get help.
      I hope it doesn't mean we can't be friends, that would be terrible. We live so close, and that whole "it takes a village" thing, and the rest of neighbors kind of....well....they suck.

  5. She is most likely in the other country getting their child. Sometimes it can take up to a month do the long legal procedures. However, she totally threw you under the bus about the wine - or he wouldn't have cared. And honestly wtf is wrong with him?! If someone gives you something you fucking take it, you don't tell them no. Shit right after you leave he could have poured it out. Weird and yes - totally Rear Window.

    1. I've heard that, about the adoptions. I also thought the same thing about the wine. Either he knows she had wine with ME, or he's just a big fat jerk to EVERYONE. Either way, I doubt he & I will be BFF any time soon.

  6. So two things without reading other comment and have probably already been said...1.as a member of a similar club....her responsibility. ..no one elses....2. When my sister adopted she was gone for six weeks picking up her kid....ok 3 things...nthat guy is an angry ahole who has to figure out that its his wifes responsibility to stay sober and not some new stranger from down the street and quit the surley shit!

    1. I agree and THANK YOU. Your 2 (3) things all make me feel better. I know you're a sensible person, and I know you wouldn't just say things unless you believed them to be true. Either way, I can add this guy at the very least to the growing list of neighbors who hate me. The club is getting big, soon they'll have jackets!

    2. dont worry about the jackets or gang colors worry when they start carrying pitch forks and torches to your door.

    3. Dang we need a moat! Or at least an upper level where we could pour boiling oil on people. We get a LOT of salespeople so that would actually be awesome.

  7. Dude was incredibly rude and has no class.

    You, on the other hand? A RIOT!

    Won't you be my neighbor?

    He could have really given you a little more info and certainly should have NOT said take the wine back. Loser. Who DOES that?

    Oh, right. Your neighbor.

    I wouldn't though. I'da kept it. Then offered you a chair on the back porch, told the kids to get their swim suits on and hit the pool.

    We should totally be neighbors. Move to Austin.



    1. I wrote a WHOLE really long post about my weird neighbors. I think they're more angry than most because of our crappy weather in the Midwest, and our location, which is THEE cheapest area in this whole town. Everyone knows poor people are angrier, that's just a scientific fact. I would LOVE to be your neighbor. I've heard great things about Austin, just not sure I can take the heat. I would probably only leave my house at night and become a vampire. But then we could totally have night wine on your back porch! Ok, I'm considering it.

  8. ohmylordy! I was captivated by this post! Now I MUST know: where IS she? Be sure to keep us updated!!

    1. I started a follow up, but we had NEW really weird drama since then. Ugh. We're fine, just staying inside for like a month.

  9. Couldn't stop reading this one! Please go over and ask to talk to her! I just have to know that she is there and ok and you are just weirding yourself out!!
    P.S. I would LOVE to be your neighbor! We could be socially awkward and drink wine together! And our kids could play while we day-drink!! :D

    1. I'm working on a follow up post now. It's taking longer than I thought, we had new drama unforch.
      I wish we WERE neighbors, we could make THEE best 2-house blanket fort!

  10. If you were my neighbor I would quit my day job and be a vampire with you and drink night wine. Every damn night. In Vegas. We would both have to move. To Vegas. So we could drink wine every night. I don't think that you new neighbor (the husband anyway) is dead. I can't wait to read more about this though.

    1. That would be really awesome! For about 6 months. That is the amount of time my mother gives me to actually LIVE in Vegas. Before my liver AND my bank account go belly up!

  11. I have spent the last 30 years working with drug addicts and alcoholics. I, myself, am not in recovery but I do think I know a little about addiction. #1) She is responsible for her own actions. #2) Relapse is a part of the recovery process. #3) Her husband is a prick. Maybe a support group (Alanon) would help him with a much needed attitude adjustment. #4) Forgive yourself as you did nothing wrong. #5) Look me up ~ I'm in the Midwest too and would love to have a glass of wine with you (or a Bloody Mary if you want to get started a bit earlier).

    1. Thank you for reading and for your input. I agree, 100%. I will, however, just to be safe, never give anyone any kind of booze as a present, unless I know the person REALLY WELL. Just to be safe.
      I would LOVE to chat and have a drink with you!

  12. I can't wait to read the follow-up piece. Holy cow!! I'm sure she's okay. He was totally rude. And you're an awesome neighbor. Can I move next door to you?

    1. YES! PLEASE do move in next to me! My next-door neighbor hates me. I posted the follow up, it's here:

  13. This is like reading a book! I'm so drawn in now! I need to know what happened to her. Thank god you already wrote the sequel, ...I'm heading over now to read it.

    1. It's not as exciting as I made it out to be, but on the bright side, I won't be going to prison. Not today, Heather, NOT TODAY.

  14. Totally agree w/ Zoe Byrd. How the hell would you know she's an alcoholic? You were just trying to be friendly. If she has a problem she should have declined - not your fault & also no big deal to decline a glass of wine. I drink but there are times I don't feel like it so I decline. Sounds like she was looking for a way to get a drink - Idk. Either way (I know she's not dead b/c I read your other post), but if she was then it would have been the husband's fault for murdering her. Oh, and the husband was jerk for behaving that way. Again, not your fault. You were trying to do a nice thing, & if they don't drink they should simply say, "thank you," accept the gift & give it to someone else. All I know is anyone who brought over 2 bottles of wine to welcome me to the neighborhood would be my BEST friend.
    Also, cracked up at "Because everyone knows you’re invisible in the street."

    1. I would LOVE to bring you bottles of wine, and drink them with you! As you're hiding from real estate agents in tents in the backyard! hahaha that would be awesome.
      The street thing! I'm such a knucklehead sometimes!

  15. oh, man! that is rough. You didn't kill her. You can't feel guilty. But she might not know how to approach you now since you did have the wine. maybe you need a do-over?

    1. You're right. She's alive. I've seen her several times, and she's come over here and we've played in her backyard a few times. I see her with a full on can o'beer all the time. She doesn't even try to hide it! I eventually told her what her husband said, and she was confused by it. I think they're just under a lot of stress over there trying to get used to the new boy, and their daughter isn't taking well to her brother. At all.