Thursday, September 13, 2007


As I arrived at my apartment door this evening, Mrs. Neighbour opened her son's door (beside mine) and said, "Oh, Mr. Udge, I'm so worried about my son, he's in bed and he won't get up, I can't wake him up." Well, she's been wrong before, but the man has attempted suicide twice so I wasn't about to brush off her concerns. I put my coat and bags down in my hallway and followed her into his reeking apartment, where we found him asleep in bed. He seemed somewhat confused to see me in his bedroom, understandable really; I explained that his mother asked me to look in: Was he all right? No, he's caught a cold. Ah, well it's the weather isn't it, dangerous time of year; does he have vitamins and cold pills? Yes. OK, sorry to disturb, do say if I can be of assistance.

So we left him to go back to sleep, and returned to his dining room where the table had been set for Vespers (the German name for a late, light meal: bread and cheese and such). Mrs. N was still flustered and very uneasy, hadn't grasped what he had said about being sick and sleeping it off; she was still worried that he wouldn't come out to have dinner, and couldn't find the coffee pot: why wasn't it on the table? I got her to sit down and poured us both a glass of Fanta from the bottle that had been set out, and let her tell me several times how worried she was about him. Three times in a quarter-hour she expressed surprise that N wasn't at the table with us and started up to look for him; each time I reminded her gently that we'd just seen him, that he was sleeping off his cold.

After half an hour, as she was beginning to settle down, Mr. N came down to see them, expecting to eat dinner together as I infer that they usually do. He joined us in a round of Fanta and talked quite plainly about their lives and the minor Hell they inhabit. He's unable to walk any great distance; she's unable to be let out on her own, cannot navigate from their apartment on the third floor to N's on the second; N is a depressive alcoholic and is weakening physically, he too walks slowly and unsurely.

What will happen to them all? Who will care for whom? It's none of my business, except that it does affect me to see them in this way. I cannot just watch through the keyhole of my front door and pretend I'm not home. When I look at them (meaning Mr and Mrs N) I think of my parents, and hope that somebody would not turn away from them.

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Anonymous May said...

Great post, beautifully written.

September 14, 2007 at 6:59:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

thank you.

September 14, 2007 at 12:03:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Lioness said...

And now I'm crying, of course. It is heartbraking. They have you though, and that's a lot.

September 14, 2007 at 4:35:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Anonymous Pronoia said...

Our obligations to our fellow humans is such a difficult, sticky subject. Best of luck with this one.

September 14, 2007 at 5:42:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Geosomin said...

You're a very compassionate man you know :)

September 14, 2007 at 10:14:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Pacian said...

You handle it much better than I would.

September 14, 2007 at 10:56:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

Tricky indeed, in many ways. The hardest part of all this is that it reminds me of my own parents, my father's memory loss and all it implies. How I will handle that remains to be seen :-(

September 14, 2007 at 11:06:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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