What is yours forever?

Last week the police came and took him away. I have known him for about 22 years. He and his mother lived together and were very happy in their large condo that overlooked the lake. He loved his mother very much. She was a warm and vigorous woman who swam very early every morning that the swimming pool was open until the jealous Condo Chairperson said the pool didn’t officially open until 10:00am – an arbitrary rule since hardly anyone uses the pool anytime. We live on the lake so a walk to the beach is much closer. Then, about ten years ago his mother passed away and she must have left him the condo because he stayed. He wore the same uniform of a white t-shirt and beige Bermuda length shorts s he tottered down the hall towards the elevator with a plastic bag or a book in his hands going on some mysterious errand. He always told me that I looked nice and sometimes even pretty. Compliments are very scarce around here and so his words meant a lot to me. A few years ago, Tom had seen the inside of his condo when he went to drop off a warm jacket because the man would often go out to the library or on errands without wearing appropriate clothing. He said that the man was a hoarded and there were huge stacks of newspapers everywhere. I always called him his name in Italian because it sounded like the Greek pronunciation of it. When the police came at the behest of his sister, he kept saying, “But I live here. This is my home.” The police came because his sister noticed, as did we all, that he was beginning to act strangely and lost a great deal of weight. He was ill and none of us had any ability to see what was the matter or to help. He was private and liked that privacy. We asked at the manager’s office and were told that all information regarding the man’s condition is confidential. But here is where I must ask the question, What is ours forever? Not our lives, our homes, our neighbors or our privacy? It turns out that we are all dependent on someone else to decide when we are worn out and not fit to make decisions and how arbitrary that time frame can be. The man and I are the same age. I am healthy – today. But who decides when I am no longer fit to be among the society of others? The manager said he did not know how many problems there were but was unable to discuss them with us. I don’t know how to reach the man to tell him that he is missed and worried about every day by at least one person besides his sister. I am renewed in living each day as it comes before someone has to have me taken away to someplace unknown where no one can reach me and I am all alone.

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