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I know we all die, but it seems like everyone is dying. In the present.

When we drove over to pick up the deposit check for our last apartment (we've recently moved a couple miles away into an apartment with twice the space) our neighbor directly across the courtyard had died. It was one of those situations where everyone was waiting for it. He was old. He was sick. But out of all the times that he's looked as if "today might be the day", he seemed to have been gaining strength and fire lately. Then suddenly, in his boxers, on his couch...that fire went out. They asked if I wanted to see the body - the van was on its way to collect him. I didn't. From the porch of our old apartment, I could see his legs outstretched. That was enough. He had no family. No family that wanted anything to do with him, that is. Within hours, he was cremated and his few belongings had been liquidated.

He used to stand in the door with his phone on speaker and talk so everyone could hear. He'd purposefully miss appointments so that someone would have to call and reschedule and he'd have someone to talk to. He would try to get my dog's attention from across the way. He'd suddenly appear as people were walking by and stop them for a few minutes to talk about the latest gossip. He was obsessed with the ships, so living in a port town was perfect for him. He always talked about which cruises he was going to take and with who. He talked about his ex boyfriend. He threatened to call the police for everything, if something bothered him (like his ex boyfriend). I listened longer than most because I knew he was lonely. It was all trivial. Nothing intimate...although he rarely had any sort of filter.

But he's gone. I don't really feel that absence. Most of my days at home were spent making sure I had shorts on and that the sheers were pulled closed so he couldn't see me walking around and come over to talk through my screen door. It was only in the last few months that he would hobble across the three feet of gravel and up my stairs to gossip. I felt him reaching, but with someone that close to leaving...I couldn't invest. I was polite and involved...but not invested.

Lorie sent me a text message the other day that she found Daphne that morning. She also wasn't going to tell my mother until after work. I'm glad she told me. I feel I deserved to know. Daphers was my special girl. She liked to french kiss. No matter what, she always found a way to get her tongue into my mouth. She was an old woman and had been for a long time now, having been 11 or 13 or however old she was. And the expectation was there, but it doesn't take the sting away when it finally happens.

She peed on me once. I'd been sitting on the edge of the chaise at my parents' house, talking to everyone sitting at the kitchen table and she just kept leaning against me. She loved me, so it wasn't unusual. Dogs lean on people as a show of affection. She readjusted herself a few times, but nothing odd. Nothing that prepared me for the warmth streaming down my back, soaking my shirt. Horror. Eyes wide. "I think she just peed on me." A flurry of chairs, laughter, shouts of "nuh-uh!", and more laughter. I think we're still laughing. She meant well, I'm sure, because her little nub of a tail was working overtime and there was no apology in her eyes or the position of her ears. I was hers and she was just telling everyone. Dogsitting for them was always fun. Poor Daphne had to adjust for all of Baxter's sins, but she took everything in stride...without complaint. A beautiful dog. A compliant dog. An agreeable dog. A loveable dog. The kind of dog everyone would hope to have, but is so cosmically perfect that the planets align only once every so many years to bind that sort of spirit to a four-legged-creature one at a time. It's someone else's turn now.

Someone near-and-dear, but not close enough lost her brother recently. I liked her brother and I love her, but knew neither of them well enough as I would have liked. She offered me the use of her van when I was leaving my first apartment at the age of 20 for infidelity reasons. My heart had been broken and the mortician came to help me out of that situation in one afternoon. She rescued me. There's never been anything I could do in return to let her know how much that meant to me. Now her brother has lost a long, long battle against his body. He's at peace, and I know her profession has prepared her for recognizing everything she has to go through...but I couldn't imagine. I can't.

I have some strange recognition and sympathy for watery graves. It's different than any other death and my mind desperately tries to connect to it. It's a strange feeling of electricity from inside unused parts of my brain that are activated out of fear. Add to that a child and my body isn't capable of containing the sorrow. A child of only two small years. A child coming into recognition of the world around them. Since I moved there, I felt oppressed...like there was a shadow hanging over the entire city. There were amazing people and beautiful things happening there, but like some ancient Indian burial ground...there was revenge as well. It was as if the laws of even exchange were at work, taking the cost of better things elsewhere from this one place. I still haven't reconciled this in my head and have no idea what to say - what's appropriate, what's selfish, what's helpful.

And on and on.

Then there are the deaths that aren't physical creatures. Death of thoughts, ideas, emotions. Death of intentions. Death of plans. Death of self. Death of creativity. Death of connection. Death of admiration.

Of all things in this realm, the one thing that will never die is Death.

Hopefully those even exchanges mean rebirth is on the horizon.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
I've missed you.
Aug. 16th, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
you know that saying, "death comes in threes"..? i feel like when it rains, it pours. no better example than death.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Little Boy Blue

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