Every winter when the temperature drops I would get sentimental over a man named Horace. He was the 80-something security guard at my last apartment in Downtown. Each night I would come home to find Horace in the foyer reading the latest copy of the National Enquirer. He called most of the people at my building "young man," or "young lady," but he called me "Miss Jian." We would talk about the news, about who got abducted by aliens today, and what I was planning to make myself for dinner. It was my most favorite part of the day.
He was tall and thin, with a head of white curls and a voice that popped like firecrackers. He kept the college kids in check when they partied too loud. He preferred taking the stairs up to the rooftop instead of the elevators. Sometimes, I would catch him up there staring across the late night sky at a brightly lit City Hall down Spring Street. He said the view up here was beautiful.
He died of a heart attack the day after my 30th birthday. I heard someone had found him in the garage where he parked on Spring and 2nd. He was wearing his security uniform when he died.
We rode up the elevator together the night of my birthday. I told him I turned 30 and he said I didn't look a day over 22. I asked why he didn't take the stairs and he told me he was tired. On the 5th floor, he wished me a happy birthday. I hugged him. Then I got out of the elevator and the doors closed. Horace kept going.
I think of him often. Horace made coming home to an empty apartment a little less lonely. I have tried searching for his grave. I have searched online databases for a Horace Talley who died on February 28, 2015 in a parking garage in Los Angeles, Calif. Age: approx late 80s. Occupation: security. Relationship: friend. I know he was a veteran of the Navy and I know he liked El Pollo Loco. I wish I knew more. I have asked building management, residents, even the security company where he worked...nothing, though I haven't given up hope. I would still like to find him one day so I can finally pay my respects in person and tell him how much he meant to me.
Wherever you are Horace, I miss you.
Bits & Pieces
A place for experimentation, a place for pieces unpolished and unpublished, a place to work out thoughts and ideas for larger collections. Typos aplenty. Enjoy (or not).