Labour day weekend. We come home from camping, to find out the angry old lady from next door has died. Or was discovered dead. We don't quite know when she died, but it was likely a couple of hot weeks before. Her house has been shut since then, but at least the air has cooled. She didn't have any family, or friends that I know. She yelled at us, and the neighbours on the other side, if we strayed from our property onto hers. Efforts to bridge the divide; extend an olive branch--mowing her front lawn, shoveling her path in the winter; all would either provoke a bitter invective, or stony glaze and a cold shoulder. She wasn't exactly the type of old lady that you hear about--she didn't yell at the kids in the street (although all the local children were afraid of her). She didn't have a cat, or keep a bird feeder. She kept very much to herself, by her own choice, and left only occasional clues to her existence. For all intents and purposes, she was a good neighbour. Our basement leaks in the spring, on her side of our house. To have it repaired means we need to dig up along the property line. I've put it off for years, since I could never dig up the courage to face her. If she would never ask of us, how could I ask of her? It seems the day I've waited for has finally come. I don't know how to feel about this. Men have come to clean out the death house today. They've thrown open the door and windows, and are scrubbing away the demons. I can hear them talking through the baby monitor that sits in the window upstairs. At first I could only smell the cleansers and bleach, but now my nose is burning with another odour I can't describe. Acrid. The men have left an hour or so ago, so I'm not sure why it smells now. I've shut the windows, and am trying to concentrate on my work, but I hear a dripping noise coming from the monitor. I don't know what it is, but I'm going to check.