It's nearly midnight and the house is dark except for the flickering light from the television.
The soundtrack of a cartoon mixes with the gentle hum of a oscillating fan.
He's lying on the couch wearing a pair of shorts; A light blanket is weaved through his legs.
He's a tan and dark haired.
He's an average sized guy relaxing in the living room.
I'm standing behind a team of paramedics as they confirm the absence of vital signs on their medical machine. His eyes are slightly open and gaze blankly towards the television. One might think he was asleep except for the foamy, blood-tinted liquid drying around his nose and mouth. As uncirculating blood begins to settle in the body, it becomes darkened and visible in the fingertips and toes.
His younger brother is on his knees in the front yard, pounding the ground and sobbing. His girlfriend tries in vain to console him. It was he that found his brother on the couch and called 911 just a few minutes ago. A crisis response team is on the way to help younger brother deal with his grief.
As the medics leave the house, I am alone with the man. It is not creepy, scary, or even sad to me. It's simply a part of my job that I've come to handle the same way others might handle a conference call or a pizza delivery. I scan the room for any obvious signs of foul play. The doors and windows are all locked and there is no visible trauma on him. My duty is to stand by and prevent anyone from coming into the house until the detectives arrive.
Then I begin to wonder:
Why would someone so apparently normal and young just die? Who was he and what did he do? How will his parents react when they find out? I already saw how affected his younger brother was but what about coworkers, ex-lovers, friends, and neighbors? Will a lot of people come to his funeral? Was he liked? Did he have any kids? I saw junk mail and bills in his name on the counter and wondered how long mail will still arrive for him. What was the last thing he ate? Who was the last person he talked to and what was said? Did he want to die? Did he kill himself or did he have some kind of medical ailment?
Why don't I feel sad for him? I have a family and friends and can't begin to think how I'd react if something happened to one of them.
Whoever you are/were, I hope you rest in peace.