Today is Friday, March 22, 2013. I have been sitting on my sofa thinking about life and listening to the sounds coming from the apartment next door. It has been quiet over there for weeks. I was used to hearing small sounds in the evenings when I would either be working on my computer or reading a book. Sometimes I would hear Carol (the neighbor) cry out...sometimes I heard the garbage disposal run.... and every night I would hear a sound like someone hammering or knocking on the wall. I wondered abut this many times and even when I mentioned it to her she acted like I was imagining things. and then I noticed I didn't hear anything at all.
I live in a senior high rise. Rent is based on your income and the government subsidizes the part a tenant can't pay. My apartment is a small kitchen, a living room, small hallway to either the bath or the medium sized bedroom. I never in my whole life pictured myself living in such a place, but as we age sometimes our options are taken from us. My grand children call this Nana's hotel. But back to my story.
On Tuesday of this week, I went downstairs to attend the March birthday party. Here at the high rise they have a small party for those with a birthday. It was my turn since my birthday is coming up. Mostly I went because I was hungry for cake. I don't make cakes anymore because if I do, it means I have to eat the whole thing or throw it out. So even though I don't attend the pot lucks and the other dinners, I make sure to get my piece of cake and small container of ice cream. My neighbor, Carol, also had a March birthday and I didn't see her at the party. I found out that she fell in the downstairs bathroom. The emergency crews came and she broke her hip and maybe fractured her arm. Everyone knew but me of course. (I guess I keep to myself too much). They told me that after surgery she would be taken to a nursing home to recover. I had planned to make her a get well card.
Wednesday night I heard sounds coming from the apartment next door. I even heard the knocking noise and wondered how Carol could be back so soon. I went down to get my mail and her door decoration had changed from the Irish decoration to a Jeweled cross with a dove above it flying away. So I thought, Carol is home and maybe has a care taker.
Thursday came and I had an appointment in the apartment office. Each year all residents have to re-certify. They want to make sure that we are still eligible to live here. At the end of my appointment the assistant manager said she had some news for me. She said that she felt that I needed to know that Carol died. " Died?" I asked, "How?" She went on to tell me that Carol had the surgery and went to the nursing home and passed away.
Now I listen and hear someone next door. Sounds of doors opening and closing...muted voices....furniture moving...I guess they are sorting and removing her things.
I didn't know Carol well. Many people who live here never come out of their apartments. Yesterday someone stopped me and told me that they were told that I had died. I said no I'm still alive and kicking and plan to be for a long while. I think they simply got us mixed up. But even though I didn't know her I remember her kindness....she once lent me a onion....she always said hi in the hallways....and it was a comfort hearing her noises at night.
So last night before I went to sleep I went to the wall and knocked 3 times in remembrance of Carol. RIP