My neighbor died this week.
I'm not really sure when, but our downstairs neighbor said that they took him away on a stretcher and he already looked dead.
We hadn't heard a thing, but saw family that we'd never seen before...taking bag after bag out of his apartment to their vans. The rest were lined in a row beside the building. Big, black plastic bags with blue ties.
They told me that the garbage bags would go tomorrow, when the dumpster arrived to cart everything out.
The frost had defeated Operation: Grandma Garden, and my neighbor's tomatoes were still tied up and green. While I was cutting and bagging stem after stem of frozen and dead coleus, impatiens and zinnia, my hands were freezing and growing redder.
A woman came out and locked eyes with me. I said that I didn't know what happened, but that I could help.
"My Dad passed away."
"Well, I can clean out all of the plants if you want."
"That would be awesome."
I'd never seen her before. Never at Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. Never on Birthdays, Sunday dinners or Father's Day. Just today.
My downstairs neighbor said that alcohol was what was going to kill him. Her daughter said loneliness.
It's only speculation.