The other day, I wrote a node about one of my neighbors. He ain’t doin’ so good….
Last night was pretty much like any other night that I have my kid. Her mom dropped her off from piano lessons shortly after I had undertaken one of my favorite chores, cutting the grass. No big deal there, I already had the coals for the barbecue getting hot, the baked potatoes were drizzled in olive oil and duly wrapped up in aluminum foil, the steaks marinating away in a combination of barbecue sauce and Italian salad dressing. The fridge was stocked with beer me and assorted fruit juices and snacks for the little. The plan was to finish the mowing, eat our dinner and top off the evening with a couple of homemade banana splits.
Everything went according to plan, the only interruption came when one of the neighbors pulled up and disgorged their kids out of the car. We still had a couple of hours or so of daylight left so we decided we could toss the football around for a spell. Pretty soon, games were improvised and a good time was being had by all.
As the evening turned darker, it was getting harder and harder to see the ball so after awhile we decided to call it quits. I told my kid to go upstairs, take a shower and get ready for bed. Naturally, there was a little resistance but I somehow managed to prevail.
After the bedtime ritual was complete, I decided to wander out back to my porch and just enjoy the silence and the cool evening air. It wasn’t long before a car pulled up and a couple of older people got out and approached my neighbors house.
I thought to myself, good for him, he finally has somebody to keep him company and to help him pass away what little time it appears he has left. Something seemed amiss though.
The lights were on in the house but nobody was coming to the door. The visitors tried the back door, the side door and were starting to look through the windows. They even tried opening some but they were having no luck. Soon, they began calling out my neighbors name, hoping he might answer.
They took notice of me and asked if I had seen him anytime over the past couple of days. I hadn’t. Even though I took the time to try and tell his story, I hadn’t taken the time to pay him a visit. I felt a little ashamed and awkward. They then related that they had been trying to call him for the past couple of days but were getting nothing but a busy signal. They tried calling the ever helpful phone company but all they were told was that there was no conversation going on. They decided to drive the twenty miles or so from their house to see what was going on. You can tell by the look on their faces, they were expecting the worst. I think I was too.
We had all just about given up on ideas. The next option seemed to be calling the police to somehow gain entry to the house. The pounding on my neighbors door increased in its intensity as did the shouts of his name.
A sigh of relief…
One the visitors caught a glimpse of my neighbor inching his way down the stairs. Apparently, he had been in a deep sleep and just now heard people calling out to him. He opened his door, looking like the usual hell that he seems to endure so silently. He was hit with a bunch of rapid fire questions about how he was doing and all the usual good intentions.
As it turns out, his phone wasn't broken or off the hook. It had been shut off. Seems my neighbor couldn’t make the payments and the phone company wasn’t taking any excuses. You could tell my neighbor was a little embarrassed about the attention being shown his way and the whole phone episode. You could tell he wasn’t used to it.
I meandered back home and resumed my perch on the porch. I’ll get to what was going through my mind in a little bit. The visitors dropped by and we exchanged phone numbers. They’re taking my neighbor out to lunch today. They asked that we all please try and keep an eye on things. Assurances were made, other details exchanged and it was time for them to go.
I got to thinking ‘bout myself. I’ve had a couple of heart attacks already in my short time on the planet and I wondered if something was to befall me, how long would it be before anybody would notice?
Would my friends or neighbors take the time to investigate if they haven’t heard from me in a couple of days?
Would work even notice? I’m sure they’d try and call my house but upon receiving no answer, how much further would they go?
How long would the mail pile up and the grass grow before anybody got suspicious?
Would all my friends here at E2 just figure that I’d had enough and became yet another fled user?
Would my kids mom just figure that I had finally done what she might’ve been hoping for these past couple of years and just given up on the whole single parent gig and that I’d pulled a vanishing act?
If it was close enough to the end of the month, it would probably be my landlord that would discover my fate when she busted down the door looking for the rent.
The world is full of so many nice people and I’ve certainly met my fair share of them. I need to meet some more.