My 80-year-old neighbor, Mr. Brass, shot himself in the head this afternoon, in a successful attempt to kill himself. He had been planning it for quite some time though no one was exactly sure. The bullet apparently went through his head and broke through his front window pane. Julien, who was home sick from school today along with Dani, heard the breaking glass. But neither of my children know exactly what happened. They think he lost his balance and fell out of the window.
When the mail truck comes, I sometimes collect Mr. Brass’s mail (mostly if he asks, but sometimes on my own). This afternoon, I crossed the street to do so, but midway, something stopped me in my tracks. A thought. I turned back home and said, “I’ll check on him tomorrow.”
Who knows what determines the path a soul takes. When it comes into life and when it extinguishes. Who knows the value of life or the cause or the effect. I am muddled with questions and a sick feeling deep in my stomach, wondering if I may have averted a timely bullet myself by not going over there, or if I could have stopped or even postponed the inevitable. Whatever the case, the end result is an ugly one. Men are zipping themselves up in white protective suits and heading into his house now to take photos and recover his body. It is, after all, a crime scene.