First, your roses.

I have to say, impeccable. Your gardener has quite the green thumb.

When I drive past your house, counting Sheriff cars along the way, I can’t get over the row of perfectly manicured white roses in front of your charming bungalow. After all, our quaint, charming Pasadena is renowned for its roses. Your house reads more Better Homes and Gardens than Jesse Pinkman-cook-trailer-in-dusty-remote-desert.

I want to thank you for the local entertainment. At 8 ½ months pregnant, my waddle radius from the house has shrunk. But because of you, I need only walk to the end of the block to have Flashing lights! Handcuffs! Wild stories!

We haven’t formally been introduced, but we did make prolonged eye contact once. Those five seconds of gazing eclipsed the last horror film I saw.

Side note: Not allowed to watch horror anymore—baby feels every chemical. Must stay calm, third eye open, perineum relaxed at ALL times, for baby.

You were peeling out of your driveway on a bicycle, knees hitting your armpits as you pedaled your stolen bike, the previous owner obviously, a child. I’m truly sorry your truck was impounded as evidence (seems you and your friends are quite comfortably ‘Down with OPP’) after the police raid but look at the silver lining: extra cardio is great for your health.

Honey, you look tired. Not like, tired tired, but the ‘could-be-between-30-70-years-of-age, no one-can-tell’ kind of tired. I felt a strong urge to reach out and tell you in a hushed, between-us-ladies tone, that you need to consider a higher SPF. I backed off when you gave me a long hard ‘fuck you’ look with feral eyes, infusing me with the warm flush of rubbernecker shame.

The community, (I mean the NextDoor App), is abuzz. Dean, who lives catty corner, was the one with the initial scoop on your felony burglary arrest. Dean’s post sparked an entire, meaty debate. Gary ranted about doing everything we could to get you out, including how we must be vigilant and keep the Sheriff’s cars over at your house every day. Dean wrote back to say, cool off, Gary, be level-headed. Then Linda piped in, calling everyone insensitive. She dropped three paragraphs about how drug addicts are people too and that this was a mental health issue that could only be treated with proper care and compassion. Gary shot back that he didn’t give a fuck about proper care, but he sure cared about the property he had worked hard to acquire. Needless to say, seventy posts later, things got ugly. Tweaker ugly.

There’ve been quite a few rumors in the thread. You got the house in the divorce, completely paid off. And, I’m surmising, gardener included? California divorces…. You go girl! It must be nice to have someone put the trash out for you when you’re in lock up. Other rumors: You’re bipolar. You shoot meth but don’t smoke it. Four ex-cons live with you. You’re running a human trafficking ring. Evidence: when the cops opened the garage, a naked underage girl ran out at 9am in the morning. (Dean actually witnessed and verified this last detail).

Supposedly you get into people’s houses by crawling through their cat door. Sometimes folks come home and find you rustling through the house. You are skinny enough to make me believe this.

I don’t know what I’ll do if I find you in my house. Maybe you just need to hug it out? Journal more? Do an online Oprah and Deepak course? You’ve made me think a lot these days. That there could be a Dennis Hopper strapped into an oxygen mask whining Mommy behind any welcoming cherry red front door on this block. I’m worried, as in ‘there goes the neighborhood’ worried, about a country of online neighbors, after-the-fact cleanup crews and punishers.

I’m worried about my own baby girl about to arrive into the world. That none of us get a safety net. That the world is full of houses with perfect roses outside and rotting teeth inside. Not just rotting meth teeth, but the other kind of rotting, too: budding school shooters, domestic abusers, climate change deniers, internet trolls or, even worse, future world leader pussy grabbing trolls who could give two shits about anything not laminated in gold.

Let’s admit, your house could be any house.

If you come to mine, I’ll be in the nursery waiting for you with a baseball bat and a hug. I just won’t know which one to use.

NextDoor App User #32714699


Claudia Fucigna is a writer, filmmaker, mother and yoga addict living in LA. She hails from Washington, DC and studied at NYU. Some of her proudest moments include climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, creating a baby (harder than Kili), backpacking through India, carrying old women’s groceries and currently wearing an outfit with no spit up on it.

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