What do we really know?

I've debated whether or not to write this post, and the dice landed on this side of the computer. A man died in my neighborhood on Mother's Day.

I didn't know him. I didn't even know he was there. I have wondered who owned the white Highlander in the driveway of a house where I know the owners quite well. At least, I thought I knew them. The Toyota wasn't their car, but I thought maybe one of the kids had returned for a Mother's Day visit. It was odd that the owners' car wasn't there, but maybe it was in the shop.

The couple who own the house are a bit more than acquaintances. I'd ask them for help, and have, and I hope they'd feel they could ask me for the same. Nice people. So when I saw, Sunday evening last, an ambulance, fire engine,and four police cars in front of the house, I was alarmed. Had someone fallen down the stairs? Had there been a heart attack? Who was injured? What could we do to help?

My Beloved called the neighbors between us, and they didn't know much more than we did, except for one crucial fact. There'd been a 911 call, and the responders found a man, deceased, in the house. My neighbor gave the police the owners' cell phone number, but there was no answer. My neighbor had no idea of the identity of the deceased. The homeowners weren't home, and still aren't today.

I feel awful that this unknown person didn't know he could have called on any of us in this subdivision for immediate help. We're a helping kind of folk. That he died alone, waiting for an ambulance that didn't arrive in time, or even with flashing lights, makes me feel infinitely sad. I know more about the characters in my stories than I do about the people who live around me.

Of course, I make up my characters, so they have no secrets. But still, I feel the need to get to know everyone on my street much better. Not just socially, to say Hi, and How are you? How are the kids? They need to know we're here for them, and for anyone else in the neighborhood.

If only. . . . I mourn this unknown man and feel a great sense of "I can and should do better."