BTG: Tenement Remnants – The Backstory

I have come to the conclusion that I spend a lot of late nights watching documentaries because once again I have written something inspired by a documentary (because documentaries are cool and informative, get into it).

Joyce Carol Vincent was a name I had come across momentarily scouring various internet news sites. I read a brief article on her death and was genuinely perplexed by the situation and her story stuck with me for years. How does a person’s death go completely unnoticed for 2-3 years? How do you not get one single visit or phone call from a friend or relative in the span of 2-3 years? What about her bills, didn’t they need to be paid? Was her flat never up for a lease renewal every year? I just couldn’t grasp how a person could be dead for 2-3 years in her apartment and no one noticed.

It was as if she disappeared in plain sight.

Then I saw the documentary about her called Dreams of a Life and that made those previous questions I had from just reading the news article even more pertinent. This documentary told who Joyce Carol Vincent was as a person and how she lived her life from the perspective of her friends (I can’t recall if any of her actual family members participated). The woman was both fascinating and mysterious, I was highly intrigued but a bit in disbelief because, once again I ask, “how did she die alone in her flat for 2-3 years without anyone noticing?” Family and friends could have changed the narrative of Joyce’s story dramatically had they been actual participants as opposed to spectators in her life.

But, wait…there’s more…

It was mentioned in the documentary that domestic abuse was something that Joyce had been dealing with and it pushed her into hiding. I can understand this, but at the same time it still doesn’t answer the recurring question, “how did she die alone in her flat for 2-3 years without anyone noticing?” Like I stated before – bills were due, lease renewals, mail – and what about the 2-3 years-worth of smell?

I suppose it is what it is.

If I ever feel the need for a writing pick-me-up, I read Tenement Remnants because it is one of my favorite pieces I’ve written of this literary journalism / flash fiction mashup thing I fell in love with. As for the title: t-e-n-e-m-e-n-t is another way of saying apartment and r-e-m-n-a-n-t-s is a trace of something that was left behind.