You may possibly recall the Saga of Silas, our pigeon-loving neighbour who died last November. If you don’t, or if you wish to refresh your memory, here are links to the articles I wrote at the time: Water from above, Drip of consciousness, The story ends (or does it?) and Who cares?
Returning home from work last Friday, we found a handwritten note awaiting us. It was from the Council’s Tenancy Officer and informed us that Silas’ funeral was to be held on the following Tuesday (tomorrow) at 10 am. Despite the fact that we are supposed to be at work then, we decided we would like to go to the funeral if we possibly could. We may not have known Silas well, and we might sometimes have grumbled at his peculiar ways, but he was a neighbour and part of the scenery for some years so it seemed only right.
I had contracted to work for 4 weeks and felt that if I took time off and didn’t repay it, I would be breaking my word. Having thought about it, I decided to offer to work the following Monday to make up lost time and to give them a little extra as they are hard pressed to get the work finished by the deadline. I am not pleased about postponing my freedom by one day but it seems only fair. They were quite happy with this arrangement.
Apart from paying our respects to someone who had a certain importance in our lives (and in the lives of the local pigeons), we are drawn by curiosity. Who else might be at the funeral? Are there surviving relatives, for example? These questions arise because we heard from unofficial sources that Silas was not all that he appeared.
To look at him, you would have thought he was a tramp. He never changed his clothes, as far as I could see, and you could always tell when he had passed though the hallway by certain olfactory traces that he left behind. Sometimes at night you would hear him pacing up and down in his flat shouting. It might seem that Silas was your common or garden “nutter”, living precariously on the margins of society.
According to certain sources, however, his family was well-to-do and had a house in one of the more affluent streets nearby. If this is true, why was Silas living alone and neglected in appalling, if self-inflicted, conditions in a council flat? Who was he and what was his background?
At the moment, we have no answers to these conundrums. Will we find clues or even answers at the funeral tomorrow?