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I never knew her name, even though she was my neighbour.

I wrote about her once here. For the most part though, I never paid much attention to her. Sure, I saw her out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye. I even pitied her. And if I am to be completely honest, I felt guilty when I saw her. Guilty because she reminded me that there are many elderly people who are all alone in this world.

Another neighbour who lives a couple of houses to the right stopped to talk to me this past Saturday. She asked me if it was true that the bird lady had passed away. I looked to the left, a couple of buildings over, to the bird lady’s balcony and noticed that her balcony had been cleared of her belongings. To be honest I’ve been wondering if something happened to her. I hadn’t seen her drive slowly around the block or feed the birds in quite some time.

I told my neighbor that once in late summer, I had walked past her balcony to see if I could see a sign of her. I did not. And there was no management phone number on the apartment building that I could call to inquire about her.

So I did nothing.


The person who goes on and on about the importance of community…

I wonder why I didn’t reach out to her. Well actually, I think I know why.

I was afraid that she might take up a lot of my time.

That there would be things I couldn’t do, if I was involved with her. Things that I would miss. That I would have to give up.

And on a more personal level, I was afraid that I might one day be in her situation. That was something I definitely did not want to think about.


I never knew her name and I don’t know what happened to her. But I do know that I don’t want to be someone who sees people out of the corner of my eye…