My young, beautiful neighbor died last night. It’s so awful.
I’ve never mentioned her to you specifically–she lived across the street. Do you remember the neighbors who saved that hurt squirrel and named it Nutterbutter Bob? She lived in that house. She was the girlfriend of one of the young sons who lives in the basement temporarily–they were set to move this week, in fact. I gave them my old couch and she was so strong, I remember, helping him carry it across the street like it was nothing.
I think she was in her 20s. She had blonde hair and was always happy. She wore short skirts and Ugg boots and looked magnificent in them.
My neighborhood is very precise. The front of it ends with a fairly major road. The back of it is cut off by railroad tracks. And on either side is a meadow. That’s what one of my neighbors called it. She moved here from Boston recently. “I live in the green millhouse that’s right next to the meadow.” I’d have called it a field or just empty lots, but I like “meadow.” Sounds nicer.
Anyway, so when I pull into my neighborhood, it’s three blocks exactly. And last night, there was a police car on the first block. “Uh-oh,” I said to my imaginary audience, which I guess is you.
Then there was another police car on the next block. The plot thickened for me and my imaginary audience.
When I got to my street, it was nothing but blue and red lights. It was blinding. This is not something you want to come home to. My neighbor, the one who adopted Nutterbutter Bob (he did eventually get better and was able to go off on his own again, which is good because he bit like a motherfucker, little ingrate) was on her lawn.
Normally I’d have left her alone and gone inside and peered out the window with my Benson & Hedges, but we made eye contact. “Is everything okay,” I asked, intelligently.
Yes. My house is surrounded by policemen and other emergency vehicles, including the coroner, but yes. Everything’s fine! Thanks! Good night!
“I think [girl’s name] is dead,” she told me. And right then, her boyfriend came out and confirmed that she was in fact dead. He was, as you can imagine, quite distraught. That’s when I slinked away quietly.
I know she had a lung and heart infection, and that she’d recently gone to the doctor about it. That’s all I know. Isn’t it awful? She was just so light and pretty and cheerful. Now she’s gone.
I went inside and made dinner (“made dinner.” I heated up leftover Hardee’s.) and then watched This Is Us (pull yourself together, Randall) and finally opened the Amazon envelope I’d gotten but had been too distracted to really note when I first got home. It was microfiber towels to clean my phone. So I grabbed my phone to clean it
and right then is when I discovered the 23949430402302394824923 messages from every neighbor I go to Friday dinner with. Oh my god, with the texts and the calls and the smoke signals and the singing telegrams on my phone.
“What’s going on, over there?” “Say, what’s all the trouble down your end?” “Why all the emergency vehicles?”
So I guess I never have to worry about being unnoticed here in this hood, anyway.