Last weekend, though thoroughly unprepared, we moved out of our townhouse to our new apartment. When I say unprepared I mean way unprepared. I had full rooms that hadn’t been touched. I don’t know what we were thinking really but mostly it came down to lost time. It’s hard to pack up an entire house while you have a toddler to tend to who is either begging for attention or unpacking things as you go along. Fun. It took us almost 4 days to move everything to the new place, easily making it the most complicated move we’ve ever done.
Anyway, it’s over now and we’re here. That’s the long and short of that.
Saturday night, our first night here, Bean woke at 12:30 crying. I went to her and tried to comfort her, sensing that she was confused about her new room even though I tried to set it up as similarly to her old room as I could. While I was trying to settle her, I heard loud voices outside and realized that someone was downstairs below our window having a fight, and thought that must have been what woke her. We took her out to the living room and put on the television since I knew she was probably disoriented and scared about being in a new place. While she had some milk and watched Curious George for a few minutes and calmed down, we poked our head out the window to see what was going on. There were several women down below dressed as if they had just come home from the club, drunk, and were having an epic cat fight. I thought, great. We just went from a quiet corner of the complex to one where we hear drunk Saturday fights all the time. That’s awesome. It quieted down after a minute and we went back to sitting on the couch with Bean.
We were sitting on the couch watching tv when we heard…firecrackers? What sounded like them anyway. I thought it sounded like someone shaking a big piece of sheet metal and it was making this thundery noise and I looked at Cameron and said, “What the fuck was that?” I couldn’t believe someone was outside doing some construction at 12:35 in the morning. He said, “I think that was a gun.” If it was, it was not a handgun, because there was no definitive “pop pop” like you hear, and that’s what confused me. I said, no way, and went to look out the window. We couldn’t see anything, and it was quiet again, so I went back inside and put Bean back to bed. When I came back to the living room we could hear screaming and howling outside, so we stepped out on the patio. There were three people below in hysterics walking to a car parked below and there were police cars parked in front of the building next to ours. By now most of our neighbors were out on their balconies too, and someone shouted “shut up!” One of the people below was a woman and she was trying to convince her friend who was screaming to get into the car. “Get in the car,” I heard her say. “Someone (couldn’t make out the name) just got his head blown off.”
We still couldn’t see anything, but the whole thing made us nervous, so we went back inside in case there was still someone outside with a gun. We turned off the lights and went back to bed, but we were both restless and could hear sirens and a helicopter circling the building for about 10 minutes. I could only sleep till about 6:15 because I was really unsettled and didn’t know what had happened outside. I got up and there was police tape all over the parking lot and surrounding the building next to us. The news had finally picked up the story and was reporting that two people had been shot the night before and one was dead, the other was at the hospital. Throughout the morning the parking lot flooded with media (I got interviewed by the Denver Post while trying to go out to my car) and neighbors were talking about what they’d heard, what the real story was, etc etc. Later that day the news finally reported that the second guy had died too and that the shooting had been gang related and stemmed from a large party that was being held in one of the lofts that the complex rents out.
Later that afternoon we went back to the old townhouse to pick up another load of boxes and while we were over there noticed all of our neighbors crowded around the carports where we all put our cars. There was a woman there who was frantically searching through a car parked over there and she was talking to one of our neighbors, who is a police officer. She was evidently the mother of the driver of that car, and she hadn’t seen her son since the night before. While we were standing out there she got the news that her son had been the second victim who died at the hospital. It was…awful. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the sound that comes out of a mother who has just learned that her son was shot to death. I don’t recommend it.
I told Cameron that if we hadn’t already lived here for a year, we’d be moving out. There is nothing so unsettling as a double homicide right in front of your apartment building the first night you spend there. We know that this complex is safe and that this was a complete fluke regarding location. It wasn’t a break in, it wasn’t the shooting of someone walking out to their car. Over the weekend there were 2 more gang shootings in the city, so obviously something is going on. But it still makes me unbelievably nervous. The whole thing rattled us hard. We might not have felt so “connected” if we were still on the other side of the complex and hadn’t heard it. But we heard it, we saw it, the body was lying in our parking lot below our balcony for 12 hours. We were a part of it whether we wanted to be or not. It’s put us both in a terrible funk that is finally starting to lift. It’s helping that we are finally almost done unpacking and sorting everything and we finally feel like we are home. It’s been stressful for Bean too, she’s been out of sorts and grumpy and clingy all week and I know she is feeling homesick and doesn’t understand this new place.
Luckily, she loves running up and down the hall and going to the elevator with me.
In any case. Here’s hoping for a fresh week and a fresh start.