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I observed her get out of her car, walk around it, and stand in front of her drive way. Her shoulders dropped. The driveway was spray-painted a sickly red that dried orangey-red. The flowers she had planted were uprooted, hacked and strewn across the small lawn, with the dirt decorating the spots that the spray paint had missed.  The garage too was spray-painted. He had taken a metal baseball bat to it, leaving it deeply dented and mangled; when he’d been doing it, the sound was deafening.  I’d watched him do it. It was becoming almost a monthly sport.

My window was open and the breeze blowing picked up the spray-paint and that fetid stench of something he had left on her door. The man was wretched. The first time I saw how he had destroyed her home I’d initially thought it was a hate-crime. I suppose, in some respects, him showing up here, with various weapons of choice wrecking havoc, is a demonstration of hate. 
But love is blind, as they say.

She stood by the driveway longer than she should have. The breeze kept blowing that stench, and I watched as she brought her hand to her nose. The stench resuscitated her stupor, because she began walking toward her front door. I had a clear view of the doorway. He was waiting for her. That was new. Usually he left.  Her steps froze when she rounded the corner toward her front door.  Moments later, they began shouting at each other.
The shouting went on for what seemed like forever. I was used to this. There was always someone going off, someone’s child(ren) crying, someone getting beaten up, man or woman, privately in their home or on the front-lawn for the neighbours to see.  Sometimes the police came if someone remembered to call or if the issue of the day was especially vicious.  Things would quiet down for a few days, a few weeks maybe, or if we were lucky, a couple of months.  But it was never a dull moment in this quaint street of ours.

Sure enough, like clockwork, people started peeking through their curtains. Doors began to open and the usual spectators came to observe. She didn’t seem to see the people gather around or the bold walk of -----, her rainbow-coloured hair, glistening too brightly,  approach them. She has always been the feisty one in this neighborhood. I didn’t like her much, though. Today she appeared to be more affected by the fight than usual. She began asking if the police should be called; if help was needed. The woman engaged in the argument whipped her head so fast that her braids almost whipped -----.  All I heard was “Can you mind your own business?”

---- looked flabbergasted. I almost choked on my own saliva.  That one always has the spirit of Satan in her; she is always ready to answer in violence, but today that evil spirit must’ve been on vacation because the rainbow-haired woman walked back to her door only cussing and shouting, threatening obscene things. The other woman walked to her door, skipping over whatever grotesque, rotting thing her man friend had left for her. He walked away unapologetically, leaving the spray paint and the steel baseball bat. He never came back to clean. He destroyed her property and walked away without a care in the world.  Men like him never care about who they hurt, how their violence, whether public or private destroy the community. And her. She is always left to pick up the pieces: both financial and emotional.