i just pulled into the driveway after picking up violet from school. there was a box truck outside dorothy's house (our next door neighbor). there was a man out there working on loading up walkers and a potty and an oxygen tank and too many other things like that to spell anything other than the obvious.
linda, dorothy's sister, stepped out on to the porch and i waved at her and asked if everything was okay. she said dorothy died a week ago saturday. i felt instantly terrible that we had not made it back over to visit and relieve some of the tension. we had been out of town twice and three of us had suffered through some level of the crud, the kids' version came with fevers. a person dying of cancer certainly doesn't need exposure to that.
i walked over to her side of the little, old fence and gave her a hug and wiped at my eye. dorothy had died peacefully at home as the pain had begun to grow. they said their goodbyes when she was losing ground and the chaplain-nurse told her it was okay to go and she took one last breath and went. just yards away from our home. all this going on right there.
i wish i had gotten to speak with her about what it was like to live there the past 50 years. find out who had lived in this house. who did that box in the attic belong to? the rusted pitchfork. the old frame. the cork-handled fishing pole.
while we talked, violet had brought me a 12-pack of toilet paper and then an amy's dinner. linda glanced at it and asked if we are vegetarians. i joked how the amy's tofu enchiladas are the obvious badge of the vegetarian. she knew because she and her husband are mostly vegetarian. i would like to tallk to linda more, too, but she'll be heading back to bryan soon. the house will go on the market. who knows what'll happen over there. maybe tea party debbie will come back and have peter flip another house and i'll spend months feeling uncomfortable about all the shit breaking around here while i smile at him and act like everything's swell.
i came inside. started some laundry, including the dirty underpants brian has left in my front floorboards since moving day. i made violet her veggie burger and i sat here feeling really weird while eating an amy's spaghetti. like someone died and i'm sitting here eating spaghetti. what if linda looked in the window and i was eating spaghetti like nothing had ever happened. i still smell linda's hug.
on the way home from school, violet told me her mom died of a bloody stomach caused by getting popped by a nail. but she was at the hospital getting it fixed and would be home in a few minutes when it gets dark.