"I think someone tried to break into that apartment right there." Jules said. She was standing in the middle of our living room, pointing out of the big picture window.
It was the corner apartment in the other development, across the field from us. All of the people standing around looked tiny; the window was broken.
"Hmmm." I said. I was tying my shoes and getting ready to go to class.
"This place is going to hell." She said. A month before, a family had moved into the complex that seemed to know every single unemployed leech in North Bryan. There had been people fighting at all hours of the night, packs of children swimming in the pool, trash in the parking lot.
"That it is." I said, kissing her on the cheek. I walked out of the apartment, and stood for a moment, watching the action unfold.
We had Thursdays off together, and we spent it scouring resale shops and book stores. I was looking at a rather nice piece of luggage, old and dowdy and faded. I asked the man how much for it, and he told me three dollars. I felt like I took advantage of him. He was simple; I assumed he didn't know what it was worth. Maybe I overestimated its value.
It was the same place I had bought my fake leather jacket and my eggshell blue typewriter and my oil painting of sunflowers. I had high expectations. When I got back to the car, Julianne was leaning against it.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you: that old man is dead." She said.
"They killed him?" I asked.
"Oh, no. I talked to Sherry in the front office, and she told me he shot himself. That's why the window broke." Jules had made friends with the maintenence staff and the office workers; she always knew when people moved out and why the cops came.
I put the suitcase in the back seat of the car.
"I wonder why he did that?" I asked.
I didn't find out his name until months later. I was looking through a box in Jules' spare room, and came across a book with sticker on the inside cover that read "The Property of Milton --------." There were books, grey computer discs, office supplies, and papers.
Sometimes when a person dies, their family goes through their things and disposes of them. Sometimes, it is the maintenance crew who places this person's furniture next to the dumpster; in case anyone wants it.
Most of his neighbors wouldn't touch the things, because Milton was a suicide. Jules had no such reservations.
I put his name into a search engine, and it turned up a few results, including his obituary.
He was in his late forties when he died. He had a son; his mother and sister lived in town. His father's obituary mentions his love of nature and animals. Milton's obituary doesn't mention that he loved anything.
Milton killed himself four days before the anniversary of his father's death. The paper does not mention this. The paper only says that he died "at his home."
I didn't read his journal. His handwriting was too small and sad, and I realized a few pages in that he knew he would kill himself when he started it. I talked to Jules about it. I knew that she would read it, out of respect for him.
"He had loved a woman once, and she had left him. He was starting to make friends with another woman who was helping him through some things, but I guess it wasn't enough. He just got tired of living."
She looked sad from the memory.