Without Whom

082315Mostly we saw her like this — through the crepe myrtles tending the pool that no one swam in. It shone blue past the fence, a filter occasionally spraying a jet into the air. Come over any time, she said when we moved in. We never did. But we waved through the trees, talked in driveways, rolled down car windows when passing by. Then a neighbor banged on the door, Mrs. Duckworth has died. Emergency vehicles swarmed the corner. Her son found her by the pool. She fell last night. I keep thinking of her lying there while our a/c unit clicked on and off all night, while the traffic on Riverside roared and we fed the cats and checked the doors and cleared the last crumbs from the fudgy chocolate hearts I bought for a friend’s birthday. We didn’t know. Don’t think about it, says the neighbor. After we finished talking on the porch, we went back to our days. Chris to his nap, me to my crossword, the neighbor to whatever was waiting for her at home. What else should we have done? I thought of the time I came back after a month away and she called over the fence, I missed you! I thought you had left. It was sweet. It was nosy. I got up and stood by the back door. Gloved men paced around her pool, collecting evidence. Then they pulled away, cars filing down the street. The water was the same blue as ever. On Riverside, people got on or off the bus. I sliced some potatoes into a bowl. Someday it will be me without whom the world goes on.

August 23, 2015

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Without Whom

  1. So poignant. Took me immediately back to a neighbor in the apartment below us years ago in Houston. A very old man named Salty, who took a shine to my toddler son and told him endless stories of how he had coached major league baseball. We watched him grow thinner and one day his daughter was locking his apartment as we left for the day. She looked at me and shook her head, tears in her eyes. We hugged. “He mattered to us, we loved him and he made a difference”, I said. She nodded and held tight. We let go with a promise to stay in touch, which we broke. I’ll never forget him, and my son still has the baseball Salty gave to him.

    Thank you for sharing, Vive. I’ll wager Mrs. Duckworth would smile at your words.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s