Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Aug. 29
- Community Blog
- My Friend Glenna
My friend Glenna
I noticed her smoking out of the upstairs bedroom window one summer day. As I sat on the front porch I gazed at the house in front of me. It was a canary yellow, Spanish-style two story house with electric blue trim. It was, quite possibly, the most obnoxious thing I had ever laid eyes on. I never once saw anyone go in or out of it, but I always saw her and her dirty, small Chihuahua leaning out that same window taking long drags. When the cigarette had been sucked of all its nicotine, she would flick it out the window into the cheap Home Depot gravel, and close the drapes. This was her routine, she would repeat it every twenty minutes or so. I observed this woman for the next few days while I sat outside my small new house, or looked through my windows. Older, ashy blonde hair, raggedy tank top, presumably cut off sleeves. She looked the same every day. She would never be someone I would associate myself with, but I was most definitely fascinated by her. I found it somewhat comforting to see her propped out of the window day after day. In all the insanity of my life, she was consistent. I could rely on seeing her and that dog in that window frame day in and day out.
Looking back on it, I didn’t think too much of her. I never wondered her name, or where she was from. I never wondered if she had kids or if she had a husband. I never wondered how long she had been there or how long she would be there.
Summer went by and school started. I would get home from school and she would be there, fulfilling her never ending addiction.
I soon became distracted by my new school, my new friends and my new life. I lost interest in that ugly yellow house and what went on inside of it. I neglected my fascination for her.
Months later when I was picked up from school like any other day, my mother said something that would be insignificant to most people, but to me it changed how I felt about people.
“Glenna died,” My mom announced.
Confused and unaffected by this statement, I replied, “Who’s Glenna?”
“The woman that lives in the yellow house across the street,” She said.
This shocked me. I had no reason to be so hurt but I was, and there was no changing that.
“Glenna was her name,” My mother continued explaining.
“She had fifteen kids. She used to have a husband, but she was no longer with him.”
“How’d you find this out?” I asked my mom.
“Well I was talking to the next door neighbor Jay, and he said he saw a coroner truck parked in front of the house Monday morning. He told me he saw them go in, pick someone up and leave. She was the only one living there.”
We later found out from other ‘neighbor gossip’ that she died from natural causes and apparently "went peacefully".
This did not change the fact that it completely affected me. I had never met her. I never said "hi" to her other than a few times when I caught her staring in my direction, but in that case I quickly looked away. I never got any closer to her than the un-crossable barrier of the asphalted, two lane street.
I never met Glenna and I know I never will. I will never know what her life was like, or what she had been through. To see her, became routine and comfortable. We had an unspoken friendship. Now that was gone.