Our conversation went something liked this:
"Aileen": Miki....it's "Aileen"
Me: What's up?
'Aileen": I have something important to tell you. It's very sad.
Me: What happened?
"Aileen": Betsy was found dead in her loft this morning.
Me: Oh, no! Ohhhhh...S**t.
'Aileen": It was quite unexpected. One of the maintenance guys found her, looking very much at peace.
Me: I'm so sorry that happened.
It was rather unnerving to hear about our neighbor's unexpected passing. On Thursday evening, at the advice of a neighbor and the manager of our complex, I took the staircase up to my apartment, instead of waiting for the elevator, due to the awful stench that was coming from our neighbor's apartment, had dinner, showered, shampooed, and then settled in to watch the TCM airing of the film West Side Story.
Tonight, while we were all at the get-together, sharing our stories about our neighbor, one thing occurred to me: That watching West Side Story was probably my way of subconsciously dealing with stuff like this, since West Side Story is about all kinds of things that, in real life, all too often lead up to death: Racial & Ethnic hatred and prejudice, gang warfare, arrogance, hubris, and gratuitous violence. As another neighbor put it to me several years ago, when I was just about to attend a showing of the film not far from where I live: West Side Story, although it's fiction, is closer to reality in certain respects. I immediately thought that there was some truth to what my neighbor was saying, and it's something I've retained in my memory to this day.