Knock on the door. An answer, this time. Now I have approximately three seconds to phrase the difficult buisness I’ve come about in a way that’s not going to be shocking.
"We heard a noise upstairs last night, when we came back from our friend’s house. Then we heard a guy talking very loud in an aggressive way. You sounded like you were almost crying. I really wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Oh… yeah. Don’t worry. He just has a temper. Everything’s all right."
"That’s quite a temper!"
"Yeah, he does that. It won’t happen again, though. We won’t disturb you anymore."
"Hey, it’s not about the noise!"
She doesn’t seem to understand. She raises her eyebrows politely.
"Look, I really don’t want you to think it’s about the noise, all right? I came up here because I was worried. I’ve had some friends, they had trouble with their partners. You sounded like you were crying. We almost busted your door to check on you."
At last she looks like she just caught my wavelenght. She doesn’t know what to say. She mumbles a few thanks, and another "he does that". I have to insist, don’t I?
"I really hope he doesn’t do it too often," I say.
"Well in that case, I’m not stupid, you know. I’d be gone by now."
Same old, same old. I try to explain that it’s not about stupid. Those girls I knew were not blockheads either. And one of them ended up wondering vaguely if she ought to leave her man, who slapped her when they argued and locked her inside their flat when he went out, so she wouldn’t leave him. I told her all that. She looked impressed. Her expression talked by itself: well, such a terrible situation, I’m glad this is not happening to me. Poor girl. And maybe–if I’m just a little good at face-reading–are you absolutely sure she was not a tad stupid?
Al Gore’s frog, everyone. When you put it in hot water, it feels the pain and jumps out. If cold water is heated little by little, it won’t feel anything is wrong until it’s too late. I’m pretty sure I heard right, and I don’t feel it’s normal to shout at your girfriend when she’s starting to cry instead of arguing back. Just the midday sun kissing the water, you may say. Not stupidity, not at all. Just the first step with an unconscious willingness towards something very unpleasant.
Yeah, he does that. How can we make them understand he just shouldn’t?