I’ve been mulling what follows over for 48 hours. Arriving at no easy answer/resolution, I turn to my fellow PPPers for any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations or other input you might offer.
As many know, I reside in a townhouse situated within an apartment complex. Given the length of time here, my walks, and general interaction from sitting on the front stoop, I meet many residents. Some, I know by name. Most, I recognize. As the property manager (newly hired, relatively) said last week, most know who I am.
One of the latter is a young man I’ll refer to as W (he’s a writer). W and his spouse (“S” hereinafter) reside in a townhouse in the building to my South.I’ve not met S.
Thursday evening W knocked on my door looking to bum a cigarette. No problem there. As we were standing outside, I asked W how things were as it was apparent he wanted to talk. He responded with a not very good. He then told me that in early November, the little boy (about one year old) that I had met earlier this Fall had died suddenly. My head reeling, I made the appropriate noises and told him about my wife’s death four years ago. As we talked, it became clear that even though the boy was not W’s child (biologically), W had been very attached to him. W then mentioned he was in counseling with an appropriate individual whose name I recognized. We continued to talk, with me listening and offering such bits of learning I had to offer. During this time (about an hour), W’s cell phone rang multiple times, irking W. He finally answered, and after that conversation, he and I continued. W was quite agitated.
W acknowledged he was working through his grief, having moved recently to the anger stage. W then went on to tell me S refused to get any help, preferring to habituate various bars nightly for the purported purpose of becoming and remaining numb. Further, S had locked W’s car and taken the keys (which is why W was out of smokes). The rationale was to prevent W from potentially harming himself. I think otherwise, but whatever. Then, S calls again, and got most disturbed by the fact W was not home, but rather out talking with a neighbor. S kept getting louder and louder, finally terminating the call. W said S doesn’t like their next-door neighbor, who has been trying to help. The feeling is mutual; I’m acquainted with the neighbor (who has an adorable 15 month old daughter).
The next day, W and S’s neighbor came by. She related that there had been a terrible argument after S had returned from the bar (“shit-faced”, she called it), and S had threatened her earlier that day. After she clarified that W hadn’t been talking to her, S went ballistic and wanted to know with whom W had been talking. She didn’t know, but had a feeling it was I involved. So she could stay truthful, I neither confirmed nor denied. Her parting comment was that anyone who had been talking to W needed to be on their toes.
The question(s): If W comes back, I intend to do my best to help in any way I can. Should I refuse to so do? If S shows up shit-faced and threatening, 911 gets called by me. No further discussion on that. However, if S comes by and just wants to talk (without W) about the boy’s death, should I listen or suggest S find another outlet? If I was still practicing, the answer would be easier.
Any advice, etc., offered will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
N.B. Full disclosure: W’s mother (single) has seen me during my excursions and has bugged W about who I am. I’ve told W the bare details, and he wishes to introduce the two of us. If his mother is the woman with whom I had a conversation two months ago utside W’s front door, I’m interested.