15. Eavesdropper: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry about a conversation you’ve overheard.
Just about every day, around 10 AM you, you can find Peanut and I strolling around our neighborhood. We have a schedule that we’ve started to develop and because of that schedule you begin to encounter the same things every day. Usually we see the husky out on his porch every morning. The husky barks out his greeting, and Peanut returns with a howl. On the weekends we see our neighbor Ray, either walking his shepherd mix or his greyhound.
Despite the chihuahuas and another beagle that mounted Peanut once, we have a pleasant time. We take time to greet neighbors, or the at least the ones we accidentally make eye contact with. We still live in a city but our neighborhood is probably not much different than yours. We have a pleasant mail man who hands out dog treats. We’ve got a nice park with trees and paths. Of course, I tend to avoid it because when we were kids, my brother and his friends once found a guy passed out on drugs there. And there was that other time I was sledding with friends and a strange man approached us and tried to get us to follow him.
Ok, so maybe we don’t have the best track records with parks! But the neighbors are still nice! Now normally on our walks it’s pretty quiet. A few passing cars, a few dog barks but mostly it’s a good twenty minutes of silence where I just get to think to myself. One day Peanut and I were taking a new loop (to avoid the other beagle mentioned previously) and we passed a neighbor sitting out on his porch.
He was chatting on his phone but once he spotted me on the sidewalk he stopped his conversation, waved his hand and said “hey sweetheart, hows it going?” Typically, I don’t respond to sweetheart especially when it is being said by a stranger on the street, but this was an older gentleman who seemed innocent enough. So I smiled back and told him I was doing well. Peanut and I continued walking but I couldn’t help but overhear his phone conversation as we walked away. “Ok, Im back. Well, I would only pull out the gun if you’re positive he is trying to take the money.”
I froze. It was 11 AM on a week day morning. Who was he talking to? And why was he in such a serious situation this early in the day. I wanted to stop and hear more, and for the first time in history I was angry that I didn’t have the excuse of picking up dog poop. As I debated on whether I should pretend to pick up feces my neighbor got up and walked inside. I was left with no answers and a dozen more questions.
Due to the serious subject matter of the conversation why did he stop to say hello at all? Was he that committed to being a good neighbor? Or perhaps it was because he didn’t want me to hear the conversation in the first place and that’s why he said hi. Of course if he was afraid of eavesdroppers why was he outside at all? Then there is the actual conversation itself. Who was his friend? Was he being attacked? Was he paranoid of being attacked? If he was being attacked shouldn’t he call the police? But let’s be real he probably wasn’t talking to the police because he was running from the law in the first place. Maybe he had money because he was a bank robber.
These were the questions that haunted me on the rest of the walk. Since then I’ve taken the same path every day and the man is never outside on his porch. Although yesterday I did see him because his dog wandered down the block. It is hard to imagine that a guy with a puppy, and lawn ornaments could be associated with the previous phone conversation. Maybe one day he’ll be outside on his phone again and I’ll finally get to hear the whole story, but until then I’ll keep walking by and listen for other people’s conversations.
Feature Image: PostSecret