I Miss My Friend
by D. K.
My friend/neighbor reached out to me and I feel I let him down. And now he is gone. And I feel so guilty. Mike was my neighbor for close to 3 years. We spoke only a few times and exchanged hellos when we saw each other coming and going, but that was the extent of it. Then a few months ago he came to my door with a cactus plant saying since I knew his sister from years and years ago and she had since passed on he wanted me to have it. He came into my apt. to tell me about the plant. He then invited me for lunch saying he was lonely. I turned him down. I don't know why but I just felt leery of him-like he was hitting on me. Now I have not been with anyone for a long time since my fiance passed away years ago and I guess I am a little shy around men. Anyway, Mike started knocking on my door but I would never answer. I did see him outside a few times and he would always say hello. Then on Feb. 2 on a Sunday afternoon he again knocked on my door only this time the knocking seemed louder and he knocked 4 times instead of the usual 2 times. Again, I did not answer. The next morning he was found hanging in his apt. We lived in the same apt. bldg. I am not handling this well at all. I feel so bad that I did not open my door that afternoon. I keep ruminating over and over "What if?" And to make matters worse-I myself have depression and I of all people should have known what he was feeling when he told me he was lonely. I could have offered him some help. How could I have been so selfish? I almost hate myself. I am almost hating myself. I can hardly eat. Each day I have crying spells. I just can't accept this. I last saw him 5 days before this happened out by our mailboxes-now everytime I go to check my mail it's all I can do to not break down. I dread going out there.