I don’t remember what I was doing that day.
There’s absolutely nothing between October 30 and November 11 in either of my better-known web homes. According to Facebook, I was spamming Twitter, playing way too much Sims Social, squealing over Occupy, and having Darling over for the night. But I don’t remember a darn bit of it. I know that a few days before that, we’d popped next door for the annual Halloween kvetch at Pat’s, only nobody was out and nobody was in. We thought it was a little odd at the time.
But it’s not odd when the person you’re looking for is in hospital, getting around to dying, and in three days’ time she will be gone.
Which she was. And I had no idea until this afternoon.
I was already so sick I couldn’t have gone to visit or paid my respects after. That was the month of the crappy neuro and, later, the blood test that made us think I had Lyme. That was the month of leaving school. I probably wouldn’t have noticed a whole fire brigade pulling up to their house. Mum was still in Germany, I think, seeing her mum for the last time. Or was that the night she came home and we were all so happy? Since Dad’s idea of being supportive when someone dies is “I’ve had 60 years to get used to people dying” (thanks so much), finding out at that point would’ve meant I was crying for Pat and not just my missing Mum.
And poor Chuck, falling apart at the seams the whole time. God, what an arse I’ve been, here in my air-conditioned house, thinking “they must be suffering in this heat” but doing nothing! Why didn’t I get up the courage to go and ask? Because once, he didn’t answer the door? He’s going deaf! Isn’t as if he’d have heard one little woman’s tentative knocks.
I feel as if I’ve been beastly, and at the same time, I feel like there’s really not much I could’ve done. I’m quite pleased Pat didn’t have to endure the hot spells we’ve had here, actually. I imagine her afterlife is far cooler than this summer. All the same, I miss her. I said to Darling that we don’t realise what roads people walk through our lives until suddenly the roads close. There’s a little girl across the street who was going to her house for sanctuary; there’s Chuck who misses his wife so, so much; there might have been her dogs and oh, God, what’s happened to the dogs? What’s going to happen to Chuck? Why hasn’t someone come to live with him? Memories must jump out from every nook.
I should have known when her garden went wild. I should have known. Well, now I do. And Pat? If you have an Internet connection Beyond, please know I love you. I’m never going to forget how lucky I’ve been to know you.