Sitting down to write this is difficult, but I don’t know what else to do. Grief doesn’t leave a person alone. It crawls up upon their back and weighs them down with it’s dreadful burden until it decides to leave. It’s never convenient and always hurts more than we remember it the last time. There is nothing to do about it but hurt until there is no more pain. Or at least, until the pain fades. I guess some pain really never goes away entirely.
I just found out today that my dear neighbor and friend, Scott, died in his sleep on mother’s day. I’ve written about him several times before ( “Life with Mr Monk”, “Semilapidified” “Meet Mr Monk” and “A kidnapping of Sorts”) the sweet old man who lived next door and accepted me as his own grandkid the moment I arrived. He called me the little fairy girl next door because he said my green eyes sparkled with ‘unearthly brightness’ and his jasmines didn’t start blooming until I moved in eight years ago in January. I like to think he was right.
I called him my Mr Monk, the cool old guy with endearing obsessive tendencies who would sit on the front porch strumming his guitar on warm summer nights, and had the uncanny ability to keep any plant, flower or creature alive once his mind was set upon it. His goldfish lived so long they became the size of sea bass and had to be moved to a handmade pond in his backyard. He was a straight shooter with a mouth of a sailor, no nonsense, and as kind as they come.
Actually, kind as they don’ t come anymore, he rather defied odds that way. Always a ray of sunshine when I had none, a listening ear when there were no answers, and a gentle smile at the end of the day when the world was a cold place.
I really don’t think Scott knew how to be unfriendly to anyone. Every weekend he seemed to be opening his home to some friend who needed a place to crash, or lending his hand wherever it was found useful. I cannot count the number of times I came home after a long day to find him knocking at my door with a hot meal on a plate. He’d just hand it over with his usual ‘have a nice night dear’ and turn slowly back into his house. No explanation, probably no need for one. That was just him.
He was one of those people you could count on, no matter what, and he never asked for anything in return. And the thing is, Scott had very little. But he gave to others like he was the richest man in the world.
The last few months I got to enjoy his company, he had became too weak to carry his groceries inside from his car, but he still tried. Sooner or later he would call or text me to ask if I could help him, though I could always tell it wasn’t easy for him. It broke my heart a little every time, to see such a good person trapped by age in a body that was failing him. He deserved so much better than that.
I never got to say goodbye, not really. I suppose we rarely do. He moved out a month before he left this earth, and even then it was so quick and quiet I never saw him go.
He left me his old wooden bench, the one we’d sit on out front when the sun was out, where he’d strum his guitar from and point out hummingbirds to me.
Even then, after he moved away, I cried, knowing my friend wouldn’t be around to greet me when I got home or tell me stories of the crazy things he did growing up, or listen and give me wise advise. I texted him that night to tell him I missed him and that, damn it, he was making me cry. He made some stupid joke that made me laugh, told me he missed me too, and finished with, “change is hard dear, but it’s good. Enjoy the bench.. My jasmines just started blooming for you…”
Thats the last thing we ever said to one another, and then he was gone. Just like that.
I laid down on that bench and cried until my chest ached with the pain that only comes from losing a person you love.
I will never forget my friend and neighbor, my dear Scott. Rest in peace my friend, you made the world a better place.
the fairy girl next door.