Got a call today from Amy, Joe's neighbour. Joe was in hospital. They had found him collapsed in the stairwell. The hospital was unfortunately at the other end of the City so it took me over over an hour to get there by Tube.
He looked awful, a crumpled collection of skin and bones in a sea of white linen, surrounded by beeping machines and colourless tubes. I sat with him a while as he slept and thought about the years we had seen together. Joe lost his family in WW2 and soon became a member of ours. The girls loved Uncle Joe when they were little and used to squeal with delight as he played silly games with them. Fiona liked him well enough I suppose, but he was too wild for her – she always did like to be in control. It saddened me to see this husk of man, my dearest and only friend, lying there, once so strong and full of zest for life, now poised on the brink of eternity.
Death has no favourites. It takes us all and then we begin the cycle again as worm food.
I do sometimes wonder about God, about what it would be like if He turned out to exist after all. Be quite a big “Oops!” I suppose.
Joe believes, and that partly explains his constant joy and love for life, despite the complete shite it threw at him. Me I buckled under it and turned into a sad old git. I can't comprehend a God that would allow such things to happen. Joe always said it was a necessary evil, a consequence of our free will, but this bad? Was the experiment worth all this suffering?
Harry was at my front door, mewing plaintively so I let him in and for the first time he didn't go straight for the fridge but made himself at home on the sofa. I don't think I'll tell the neighbours – they don't deserve pets... or oxygen for that matter.