I quickly got a roommate after I moved into the apartment. She was fresh out of college, young and cheerful, high energy. I enjoyed talking with her when we crossed paths.
If I was working from home, I would sometimes hear her come in and step quickly down the hallway to her room. Or, in the evening, I might be reading in bed and hear her come in. Or, I’d be dropping off to sleep, and hear her.
If I got up for some reason, I’d open my bedroom door, and there, directly across from me, her door would stand ajar, her room silent and empty.
For six years I heard those steps, swift and neat and purposeful. I never recognized that what I was hearing was not real. I was always quietly, pleasantly convinced that my roommate had come home. When I realized once again that I had been misled, I would feel a shock of fright. That reaction never lessened. It was the stark divergence between perception and reality that scared me. I was never afraid of her, the woman I came to associate with the footsteps.
Even now, I imagine her in her tidy business suit and her black lace-up shoes. I can see her removing the scarf from her hair, the scarf that protects her permanent wave, and I can hear the clink of the bobby pins that she drops into a china tray on her bureau.
I wonder what kind of work she did. I wonder if she lived alone. I wonder if anyone was with her when she died. Why did she still go about her workday, year after year, when she could have been at rest?
I wonder if she would mind when I pray this for her and for me:
O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Part 1 of this topic is here.
Part 2 of this topic is here.
November 1, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths