Jan 2, 2008

Conversations you don't want to have

I was standing at our row of mailboxes, when the adult son of my upstairs neighbor came flying down the stairs in our apartment building and breathlessly asked me if I'd seen his mom, grandmother of four. The family had been looking for her and calling her cell phone since yesterday.

I had seen her yesterday, yes, I believe it was yesterday. I only noticed that it happened, not really when.

And how was she?

She was walking up the hill, I said, and I noticed her because she stopped to look up at our building and she looked rather puzzled.

Yes, that makes sense, her son said, but wouldn't tell me why.

They had called the police. I wished him success in finding her (and according to the horary chart for the moment, they will).

He then asked when I had seen her yesterday. What time?

In the afternoon. There was still daylight. Not yet dusk, I told him.

And he dashed out.

I feel awful for him.

…Funny what you notice about people without noticing. Like a Sunday walk I took last month or maybe November, where I encountered my upstairs neighbor with her sister, and how my neighbor hadn't acknowledged me at all, and her sister half-laughingly poked her and said, "Say hi when people greet you!" And every time I saw my neighbor after that, like coming home from the grocery store, she was always with her sister.

Except for yesterday.

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