Bob. I didn’t know him well, but he was a fixture in my world. Bob was a neighbor that lived above a garage behind the house I live in. I remember when I first moved in hearing stories about his very strange world. We spoke when we ran into each other, really nothing more than a hello or goodbye. I did have a few conversations with him out on the front stoop where we would sit and watch the storm clouds roll in. He was a very sickly man, riddle with cancer I assume which is probably why he didn’t give up the cigarettes despite the deep, raspy cough that indicated his lungs were fighting for air. His thin, pale frame created a visual of a near skeletal figure fighting to hold its weight up on scarecrow thin legs.
Three weeks ago, Bob was moved to a nursing home, or so we’d heard. There was often a question of what happened to Bob when we didn’t see him around for a while. During those times when he was absent, he was at the VA hospital. Bob was a veteran.
A few days ago, I took apart a large, bulky desk in my apartment and carried it downstairs to dispose of it a piece at a time since it was so heavy. Yesterday, I carried the first two pieces to the dumpster in the alley and noticed several large trash bags taking up a considerable amount of space. My first reaction was to be a bit peeved as we’ve had issues with random people throwing their trash in our designated dumpster. The second thing that caused me to feel a bit fretful was the terrible stench emanating from those bags. I threw my two pieces of desk in and quickly walked away. The odor had my stomach turning.
The following day as I was ready to throw the next two pieces of desk away, I was approached by another neighbor that said, “hey, did you hear about Bob?” “No,” I replied, “what about, Bob?” “He died.” I shook my head and walked away. I don’t do well with death. I continued to the alley and just as I threw in the other two pieces of desk, I looked a little closer at the bags. They were Bob’s belongings.
Apparently he had no family, no one to claim his things or him for that matter. I was told the landlord got the okay to clean out his apartment and dispose of everything in it. Bob’s entire life was in several large trash bags in a dumpster in the alley.
I can’t even imagine a life being reduced to refuse that will make it’s way to a dump where it will decompose like Bob’s lonely and forgotten existence in a local veteran’s cemetery.
That is all.