They tell me Randy died.
Randy was the kid next door in my old neighborhood. He was four years younger than I so, kid culture being what it is, I was only peripherally aware of him at the time. As an adult, he stopped by my Mom's house on holidays when we went home to visit, to say hello and to catch up. He was jolly and good natured, and we enjoyed seeing him.
It seems he was sitting in his living room yesterday, talking to a friend. Then he simply stopped talking. Just like that. No illness, no warning, betrayed by his own heart between one beat and the next.
They say the veil between the worlds is thin this time of year. I think sometimes I can feel it in the autumn, the tattered edge of a gray silken something that brushes, sighs, for only an instant, just beyond the edge of sight. In those moments, it seems it would be so easy to slip away into that quiet, whispering mist. Maybe, when it came to Randy, he wandered in too far and couldn't find a way back.
And what of his mother? The last of her clan, she has no one left now to do for her the things she cannot. No neighbors left in our family home, standing empty now except for ghosts and memories that watch from the windows.
We will send flowers and cards and prayers. None of them will matter.