No Goodbyes

Judith Cody


Garrulous neighbor it seemed, but after the crisis a profound mantle of loneliness surfaced as from a living grave. He had been a sailor loving the rush of waves, sun and wind until all at once it was denied him as age crushed vigor, as time had raced to shore stranding him there where family had left him as well. Few cars ever parked in his always freshly asphalted driveway; a male house cleaner for Fridays; the Sunday mow and blow men in their rusted Toyota pickup; once or twice during the long years a relative gave up some few hours or so to visit Dan’s always ship-shape little house, the nineteen-fifties Valant Street track home that Dan doted on as if struggling to judge it worthy of a tedious or dangerous voyage to someplace he never mentioned to anyone. September, when his middle-aged son, wearing a Santa hat, parked his sparkly car, dashed into Dan’s house, left about an hour later. Dan couldn’t know, but it was to be his final Christmas, without his beloved family, without his annual “holiday messages” hand delivered to neighbors; messages that told of his wonderful family, their great accomplishments, and their love for Dan. Later, those of us who cared found that those holiday letters were just his dreams, perhaps what he even imagined. One of the family finally arrived to observe him during his last few days at a run-down, dark, care home, then quickly cremated his remains without any service. Soon there was a massive dumping of his home’s contents onto his swept driveway for the trash collection truck. Dan’s aluminum walker tottered on another heap of cast-offs in the gutter. He had never used it in public—preferring to struggle instead during his brief moments walking in his yard.

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