Our Neighbor Dorothy

 

The man who claims he got us together is no longer in our lives. He lived with Dorothy, whose preoccupation with death is unlike anything we’ve encountered. After Lou left for Montreal without her, we found ourselves watching her movements through the sycamores demarcating our properties. As a couple, we’re an introvert. If it weren’t for Dorothy’s appearances, we would be a total shut-in. She’s alone now and not so easy to get along with, but no one said it was going to be easy. We never said goodbye to this Lou character either. Dorothy’s response: “Every once in a while an angel of death comes to us to say ‘Eewh’ and floats back the way it came, mute, expressionless.” She wants us to ask her to what extent it will resemble permanence, but we’re not going to do it. Our fear is that one of us must go first. There’s no good order. We’ve lost touch with Dorothy since then. We thought we would grow old together, the three of us, and why not? She lived straight back from our place on Ann Lane and took to us like an orphan when she found herself single again. Then she would call thorough the sycamores for simple things like a trowel, a trashy novel, a ride downtown if we’re going that way. She told us over dinner one night that the opposite of death was flirtation, and we believed her. A few weeks later she moved to Fort Collins with a Steve and a Border Collie whose name is so typical as to escape us. With the drapes pulled off, one window broken, her old house sits empty in a tanking market. We’re reminded that we don’t need divine inspiration every time a difficult situation arises. How about a humble spirit and the grit of non-metaphysical effort? A lot of people have this. We talk about it pretty often, even as our flirting days are numbered.