Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Dead Man's Plants

I had this excuse that I couldn't write in here if nothing interesting happened in my life. This worked until now. I've got many things to write about. 

Someone killed himself in my apartment building a few months ago. I was at work when it happened.  I received a torrent of text messages. They all asked me if I was okay and where I was and if I had been taken hostage. It shocked me to receive them, and I was completely confused. I learned from my roommate that someone had taken himself hostage in the apartment building. The entire building had been vacated and police had blockaded the street. 

I was relieved that my roommate was not in danger, but I wondered who the hostage was. I only know a few people in the building and I couldn't imagine any of them doing something like this. About an hour before I was leaving to come home (or as near to it as I could get) I received news that the man had killed himself. 

It was hard for me to feel anything but confusion. Everything had happened very fast. When I learned that the man who had died wasn't someone I knew I felt further relieve. It was the kind of relief you get when you know you have no connection to the problem. But I knew someone else must have been horrified by the news. 

When I got home the scene was quite calm. The place felt very eery. Broken glass glittered on the asphalt underneath the apartment and a chair held open the back door. There was no one around. As I looked up into the apartment where he had died, it looked very dark. It looked empty, vacant. 

It has been odd how quickly the man's death has been rolled over by time. The next day someone came to clean the apartment (which must have been awful; he killed himself with a shotgun) and the apartment is now for rent. I don't know if the owner is required to disclose the death at all to prospective tenants. These things made me feel like this man's death was inconsequential. We all live the same lives here that we did before. Someone will move in, put up pictures and arrange furniture, and they will probably never know about the death. I guess I'm forgetting the man's family, they probably think about his death, but I wonder how long it'll take before they forget too. 

The man killed himself because he violated parole and didn't want to go back to prison. He was a sex offender. He wasn't dying for any noble cause, and he wasn't a victim. He died because he thought it was better than living. Maybe he wanted to be forgotten. 

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