To anyone standing on the threshold of the living room, Mildred would have looked peaceful. Maybe because the worn-out brown corduroy couch on which she was lying stood in the far corner. Maybe because all the shutters of her small house were closed, and only the TV and the 15.6” Toshiba laptop gave off some sallow light.
That’s the advantage of a remote position and dim lighting. Sordid details remain hidden. Like the greasy stains on Mildred’s faded pink tracksuit, for instance, or the crumbs littering the couch as well as the floor around the coffee table, or the half-eaten take-out pizza next to the 20 oz. Coca Cola tumbler. Distance and dim lighting make any reality seem swell.
But to Sergeant O’Leary, Mildred didn’t look peaceful at all. When he bent over to take her pulse—not that he needed any proof, but he had to follow the procedure—, he noticed that she rather wore a shocked expression. There was surprise, of course, and anguish. With a hint of indignation and disappointment, maybe.
Sergeant O’Leary didn’t know—and wouldn’t have cared anyway—that Mildred looked as disgusted as she had in 2004, when her whole life had suddenly lost its purpose on May 6. He didn’t know that she had barely budged from that very same couch ever since.
After the coroner had finished his exam and the undertakers zipped up Mildred’s body in black plastic, the sergeant set about to switch off her laptop. He realized she’d been visiting the Facebook-page of “Friends”. The window of the last post she’d published was still open.
“My chest hurts I’m dying”, she had typed.
Gleaning 261 Likes.