I usually keep to myself in apartment complexes, but there’s a pool where I currently live so interactions with my neighbors happen more often than the places I’ve lived in the past. L.A. is also very friendly, and my next door neighbor Mike, always said “Hi” to me whenever I saw him. In fact, he’d ask me how I was doing and see what was new in my life. He didn’t need to ever stop, but he always did. And so did his daughter Melissa.
Mike lives right across the hall from me in my building. I knew his daughter, Melissa, was mixed up in something bad because the police had been to his door two times since I’ve lived here. There also used to be this one guy that would hang around our building and cause trouble. Apparently that was one of Melissa’s boyfriends who was mixed up with drugs.
It’s been maybe 6 months since I’d seen any police or shady characters around Mike’s apartment. Melissa started hanging out around our pool area again a few months ago. She was always really sweet to me, playing with my dog and complimenting my outfits.
Early Saturday morning around 8am, I was taking boxes out to my car to take to my friends yard sale. Melissa and one of our neighbors, hopped out of the cab to head inside. They had been partying all night and were a bit tipsy. They neighborly opened the door to me and offered to help me take my stuff out to my car. I turned down their offer then Melissa said, “You should come hang out with us! I know I look ridiculous, but it’s fun!” I said, “No, you don’t look ridiculous. You look great!” We laughed and went our separate ways.
After working the yard sale, I came back home to walk my dog. My dog loves running around the pool area after a walk so we headed to the pool, and Melissa was laying out. While playing with my pup Melissa asked what I was up to and offered again, “I meant what I said, you really should come out with us. It’s a great way to let off steam. Are you 21?” I laughed and said, “Yes, I’m well over 21. I’d like to come out, it gets hard with work but please let me know.” She said, “Any time. Just come knock on my door. You’re always invited.”
The following Monday I came home from an audition and saw 2 policemen outside of Mike’s door. My roommate told me there was also an ambulance that came to the complex.
Melissa had died of an overdose. She was only 23 years old.
This situation has made me think about my family and friends around me and how precious life is. I am so grateful for every person who’s been in my life and all the support I’ve had. My neighbor was also blessed with support during this time. All we can do is look back and be glad those who’ve passed were there to gift us and know that we did the same in return.