Last week I got to meet a man in the last six hours of his life, although I obviously didn’t know that at the time. I don’t remember his name or where he was from, but I believe he was born in India. I shook his hand and looked at his face. He was visiting my roommate, dressed in a comically oversized suit and a cheap bowtie. He looked like he was dressed to perform at a child’s birthday party, the kind of man who might be secretly versed in magic. With golden apple cheeks covered in whiskers, he had the kind of warmth that sticks with you, like someone out of a Bob Hope movie.
He and my roommate searched for a particular brand of cigarettes on the streets of Devon all day, and as they waited for the elevator, they were going upstairs to her boyfriend’s place in retreat. They found out the cigarettes are illegal here, even though her boyfriend swore you could buy them on the street. I said goodbye to him as the elevator doors opened. I never saw him again. His bags are still in my apartment; his military duffle rests against my couch and his books linger on my table.
Shortly after meeting me, he fell out from the fourteenth story of our Edgewater apartment complex.