“Why are you laughing?” I sat on top of him and demanded an answer as he continued to laugh, “Tell me! What makes you laugh?”
Before he could answer, we heard footsteps climbing the stairs. It was Aunt Lydia, the woman who lived in his building, the woman he had been sleeping with, before her health started going downhill. Now, he was more of her caretaker than a secret lover.
He rushed outside in order to hold her hand and help her climb the rest of the steps. He had hardly stepped on the staircase when I heard him call out to me. I went out to see what had happened.
Aunt Lydia seemed unconscious as he carried her out on the terrace. “She was panting so hard. She was saying something, then she fainted,” he informed me. I ran back inside, picked up a mattress, and spread it out on the terrace. He put her down. I came back with some water.
Aunt Lydia opened her eyes and looked at me. We were both sitting on either side of her, holding her hands. And just like that, she died.
We called 108. An ambulance was on its way. The building was eerily empty, very quiet for a Sunday morning, as if the occupants were still asleep, oblivious to the death on their terrace.
I went downstairs and stepped into her apartment, hoping to find the contact of a family member and inform them of her death. The place was a mess. I searched around for a diary or a phone, when he came down and joined me in the search. But there was no telephone in the house. In fact, there was no means of communication or a sign of any electronic item. There was no diary of contacts either.
I went into the kitchen to see if she had been eating well, when I found a sticky note on her refrigerator. It said, “Everything I own will go to the one who finds my dead body.” I was stunned.
He called out to me again. I went into her room. There was another sticky note on her wardrobe — “Everything I own will go to the one who finds my dead body.” Another one on her bathroom mirror saying the same thing.
We looked at each other, we were both stunned, we were both silent. We didn’t know what to make of the note.
The ambulance was taking her body away. The lawyers arrived. We sat down at the table in her apartment. The man wearing thick-rimmed glasses removed a file from his brown suitcase.
Apparently, Aunt Lydia was quite rich. The lawyer spoke to us about the limited rules of her will. She had left everything to us, the “founders of her dead body”. She had no family.
In a matter of a few hours, we went from being young professionals earning a meager salary to inherit a small fortune.
“Well, at least we’re rich somewhere,” he told me as we woke up.