My co-worker that died was a very nervous woman. I actually met her when I passed her walking on the road. It was one of those days when the sky was threatening heavy rain at any moment, and so I stopped to give her a ride. I was a bit surprised to find out how far a walk she had in front of her.
I took her home that day, and she was very grateful. I saw her plenty of other times, and picked her up then, too. She always tried to pay me, and I always refused it. I didn't know much of her personal story, but like I said before, you could tell that life was hard for her. I'm not going to take money from someone who is walking back and forth to work from her rundown trailer in a equally run down mobile home park.
It was a couple of years ago, probably, when I met her, and I finally convinced her to just come over to my building after work and wait for me in the cafeteria if she needed a ride, and sometimes she did that. When I was permanently laid off, I wondered about her, whether she had found someone else to ride with.
In any case, when my 'permanent' layoff was interrupted, I was glad to see her there too. She was driving a car, a shiny red one, and I was glad for that too.
She's very quiet and nervous and spoke to no one. I spoke to her a couple times at lunch, but she always seemed in a hurry to end the conversation and retreat to 'her' table by herself.
For a woman that has gone largely unnoticed, she is now noticed a lot. I listened to people talk about her. Apparently, she was known around her building because she cried a lot, silently, as she worked. She didn't talk, but people were concerned for her and wondered about mental problems.
People talk about seeing her walking with her dog, a scruffy looking boxer-pit mix that she seemed very fond of. They wondered if the dog had gone to a good home. They knew that Jean had a brother, but there were problems there. Her mother died last year.
In any case, I'd kind of made up my mind to go to the funeral home and pay my respects just because I figured that it would be sparsely attended. Much to my surprise, there is no visitation, no funeral, not even an obituary in the paper.
That bothers me to think of, that one person should have been that solitary.