My next-door neighbor killed himself two weeks ago. His wife was there in the house when he blew his brains all over the wall of the garage.
I didn’t realize anything had happened until I took the dog out to pee and saw six or seven cars parked along the curb. Even then I thought someone was having a party.
Then I saw that his garage door was up and someone was standing in the driveway taking pictures of the interior. Some other neighbors were standing around on the sidewalk across the street, so I went over and asked what was happening. Nobody knew much at that point, but we could see that both cars were in the garage and his son’s pickup, as well as his daughter-in-law’s van, were in the driveway. Obviously something had happened.
Bob, my neighbor, and Joyce, his wife, were both in their early sixties, a nice retired couple. Kept their lawn mowed and fertilized, went to church every Sunday and on vacation once a year. Bob’s mother died recently and Bob had used his inheritance to buy a really hot little Mazda convertible and a computer. I gave him a few lessons in how to find the files he had saved.
He also bought a new riding mower. Got the deluxe version with a holder for his can of beer. He didn’t get drunk very often; I remember him being faintly buzzed two or three times in the five years we were neighbors. It was usually when they had the family over for Saturday night supper. Then he’d come over and talk to me if I was in the back yard. He’d be silly and happy, slurring his words a bit.
Right after he got the riding mower, though, he came over and apologized. Seems he had been a little tipsy when mowing his lawn and had gotten too close to one of my flower beds. Sorry about that. I said it was no big deal; he was still learning the new mower.
Lately, though, there were more half-gallon jugs of Johnny Red in the “glass trash” on Mondays. And
once or twice he’d start out walking Elvis when he, Bob, was definitely more than two sheets to the wind. Elvis is a fat little pug who hates to go for walks. Three weeks ago Bob tried to have Elvis play with my dog, Bronco. I had to take Bronco back into the house.
I went to the viewing at the funeral home. “Viewing” is not the right word as the casket was closed. Joyce was great. She moved back into the house earlier this week, right after her son replaced the wallboard in the garage.
I miss Bob. I hadn’t realized how often he came over and talked to me when I was out in my yard. All except the last few times. I don't like to think about those times. Sometimes hindsight can be very disturbing.