I heard a lot of noise out in the hallway. I assumed it was the owner of the building doing some kind of work but it turned out to be some people hauling everything out of an apartment upstairs. I noticed an amplifier, the sort which would be used by a live band. Obviously someone was moving out, I assumed, though the 19th of the month is a somewhat odd day to move out of a monthly rental place. Outside I saw the objects from the apartment being loaded into a U-Haul truck with Oklahoma plates. Someone outside, who had earlier been moving some of the objects into her truck, began driving away from here, yelling out the window “Sorry for your loss!” I wanted to ask these people, none of whom I recognized, if someone in the building had died. If not then someone connected to someone here could have passed, I guess, but it’s not even close to any of my business to ask around about what might have happened.

It made me think back on the others I knew or knew of who lived and died under these ceilings. Jack was the most memorable. He dropped dead of a heart attack and lay on the floor downstairs for several days, deteriorating and then letting off that unique stench of death. I did not recognize it but after I told my then-girlfriend what had happened she said “You know, when I came into your apartment building last night, I thought ‘Something stinks!'” Then she added that she thought it was that smell, which she encountered at least once under similar circumstances of a neighbor dying alone.

Jack was a nice guy, and while it’s important to recognize that nice people die just like the rest of us I still found it a little tasteless when his apartment was cleared out and his gay pornos and other memorabilia left out for all to consider. It seemed disrespectful, and it was something I might have taken into consideration after my father died and I found similar type of materials in his bedroom bureau. I disposed of dad’s gay porn videos in a trash can outside a steakhouse, where no one could have associated them with him.

I felt bad for the young couple that lived right upstairs from Jack. For days they endured that rancid smell, probably unaware at first what it was. I never talked to them about it but did not realize until too late that they wanted to talk to me, or just to somebody about all this. It was the way they looked at me one of the days after this happened, clearly wanting to open a conversation but I, for whatever reason, oblivious to their gesture.

Others, of course, have died in this building, as with any multiple-dwelling type structure. I’ve talked-to-myself about this enough already.