Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's 10 o'clock, here is the news

We retired early tonight, both being knackered, to watch the news in bed. Then we heard some news we weren't expecting.

The doorbell rang. It's never a good sign when that happens and you're already in bed. Our first thought was that it was the neighbour. We had torrential rain here tonight and entered the bedroom to find the floor soaking wet again. Trouble is, even though we've had OUR roof replaced, HIS roof is still shelling tiles like there's no tomorrow, so the bits are still being washed into the gully, blocking the drain and leading to a repeat of this situation, which will undoubtedly require us to go through this again. So slipping into my dressing-gown and plodding wearily downstairs, I expected to find him on the doorstep wondering why HIS bedroom was under water.

I was wrong. It was the guys from down the road, enquiring whether we could feed their cat when they go away, and also bringing totally unexpected, shocking and very sad news. Our neighbour Pete, who lives directly opposite, died earlier today at work. Sat down to eat his lunch and had a fatal heart attack.

It's one of those situations you can't really grasp at first. You say inane things like "I only spoke to him last week," as if that should have been enough to prevent his death. Or that you might have - should have - spotted something that would have given you a clue of his impending demise. But we don't always get a warning shot. Sometimes it's as sudden as a click of the fingers and you won't ever get the chance to share a beer or a joke with him again. And then you think "Christ, he was nearly two years younger than me." I've found I've been thinking more about death anyway, since I turned 50, so this isn't going to help. Not in a morbid way, but more a sort of fatalistic realisation that I've almost certainly got less time left than I've had already, and the more time passes, the more true that becomes.

But for Pete, there's no time. So I guess the lesson is: make the most of what you've got.

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