The manager and maintenance worker had done their best, but the condo was still in disarray. I stepped over piles of clothes and bags of trash and peeked into the bathroom. Bottles of Philosophy shampoo in the shower, Dr. Perricone face serum on the filthy, mildew-encrusted sink and counter. This woman didn't just leave this place--she fled. No one leaves behind Dr. Perricone face serum unless they're in a God-awful hurry. I turned in the other direction and could just make out a pile in the bedroom corner. The cat food cans. I looked back at the cosmetic expanse on the bathroom counter. When Guy saw her leaving for the last time, she was taking the most important things with her--her pets. Everything else could be left. And now, with the bank foreclosing on the place she bought not long before Guy and I moved in next door to her in 2001, everything else must go.
We live in urban areas for the convenience but also for the anonymity. No one to pry into your life means that no one can spread rumors or be nosy, or even hold your failures up to your face constantly. But I have to wonder if Guy and I could have helped this woman. And then I wonder if she even would have let us in--Guy mentioned that if she ever answered the door, she barely opened the door and stood so that you couldn't see past her into her condo. And for all our attempts at privacy and not wanting others to interrupt our routine little lives, we are interrupted by real life--people die, jobs are lost, homes are foreclosed upon. Regardless of our tragedy or circumstances, we gather up that which is most important and go elsewhere, searching for the normalcy that allows us to live again uninterrupted. I hope she finds the peace and quiet she deserves, I would say into the camera as the local TV reporter asked me about the neighbor: she was a quiet neighbor, and a nice person.