family is story

How I Nearly Came to be Involved in a Domestic Dispute During my Evening Run

No OutletShouting and loud conversations from a house one street over from us is nothing new. So, when I heard shouting during my evening run on the street where the loud family lives, I figured they were on their back porch and I wouldn’t be involved.

As I rounded the corner to run down in the loud family’s cul-de-sac, I contemplated a different route. But I stuck to my plan, because I needed to run down this street in order to equal the long run that was scheduled for this day in my training plan.

As each step took me closer to the shouting, I realized I’d made a serious error in judgment. It wasn’t the loud family making the ruckus. It was a whole different duo lighting up the neighborhood with their colorful language.

I looked straight ahead and focused on my pace.

I shifted my eyes once or twice, to keep tabs on their location. When I did, I saw a man standing at a car door shouting to someone to leave, get out of his yard, don’t come back. And then, I think seeing me, he launched into a very colorful summary of the type of person he thought the driver was.

I plodded along.

Just as I drew even with the driveway, the driver started reversing the car. I was past the driveway when I heard the man say: “Why are you going that way? You can’t get out down there!” Then, from the car came a woman’s voice: “That’s my witness! THAT’S MY WITNESS!”

Oh, dear Lord, I prayed. Why did I turn down here? What do I do?

I kept running. Acting like I didn’t know anything was happening because of the earbuds snuggly tucked in my ear holes. If she stopped me, what would I say? I hadn’t really witnessed anything other than shouting. And what if he had a gun and shot “the witness”? What if he hit her? Would I be able to step in and diffuse the situation? I had my phone, so I knew I could call for help even if I didn’t get involved.

I rounded the cul-de-sac and turned back toward their house. I was running way faster than I normally should have been for this early in my run, but I just wanted out of there. I looked up and the woman was standing outside of her car, now parked in the street. The man was standing at the end of the driveway. Nobody said anything. I kept running toward them, to run around the end of the car and out of their street. I looked straight ahead. My eyes scanning the scene, but my head stayed glued straight ahead. The woman got in the car, turned around in the cul-de-sac and passed me on the way out of their street.

As she passed me in her car, my heart went out to her. Clearly, from the crying and yelling and desperate attempt to gain someone to her side, she was in a lot of emotional pain. I had wanted to help her, but also I had wanted to stay alive and unharmed.

What should I have done? What would you have done?

©2013 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.