Haute Dish The Arts & Literature Magazine of Metropolitan State University red flower
Summer 2005

 

 

 


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Sunlight's first apartment
Giordi Orereggio

If she hadn’t escaped the very moment she did, she surely would have died. She would have been crushed by a gravity which intensity is unknown here on Earth. Instead, beginning her journey, she flashed as a beam of fire blazing away from the burning sun towards a cooler blue marble, or was the growing marble approaching her? The marble soon filled her scope of vision; colors, shapes, dimension, and details mushroomed all around. Distant delineation between ocean and continent became an eastern coastline, the city of New York, a block on Avenue A, a building on 1st Street, the twelve foot wide brick outer wall slicing off my apartment at its southern border. She was too ignorant to be blinded and halted by fear. Her proximity warmed the cold black and rusted iron of a fire escape, which encaged a third floor window shielded and opaqued by closed white blinds. Undaunted she lasered though a horizontal slit and ventured into my studio surroundings. She licked my lids with Fahrenheit, but I would not awaken easily.

Although barely conscious, I somehow still knew that this had been my apartment for almost 18 hours. The skin wrapping my eyes wrinkled tighter as if to squeeze out liquid panic. What if I forgot to pay rent when the first of next month arrived? What other bills would I be hit with? What if my toilet backed up? No one would be there to save me.

She continued to kiss my closed lids. I squeezed my pillow tighter, but in it I found no substitute for Sugar Mamma. Suddenly a pinching within my stomach reminded me that I had skipped dinner the night before; I was too involved with unpacking my few belongings here and placing them in different spots of the twelve by forty foot area. Eventually I would have to get up and make myself something for brunch. I could do that because Sugar Mamma let me leave the old place with four boxes of macaroni plus a pot I had thrown and dented during one of my childish tantrums.

July’s light continued to beg at my eyelids. Slowly my eyes slid halfway open. I sat upright, placing my bare feet on the cool hardwood. My eyes traced the parallel lines in the wood until they ended 15 feet in front of me into the yellow and gold linoleum tiled kitchenette floor. A small dining table, I thought, would look really nice in that space between my bed and the kitchenette. For a 24-year old kid, I had done pretty well finding this first apartment all on my own and quickly, too. Sugar Mamma looked surprised the day before when I told her I would be moving out that same afternoon. Now I would have to do things on my own. What did that mean any way? How could I survive alone? Would people in the street stare at the big loser sign on my forehead?

Only a small sliver of light snuck past the plain metal blinds. Any more light might have given me a migraine. The apartment’s clean scent of pine swam up into my nostrils a slightly lifted the lateral edges of my mouth. Sugar Mamma had many fine points, but she lived like a pig. I now was finally free of creeping roaches, hissing Siamese, screechy cello playing, and foul marijuana smoke. I was also free of council, security, and companionship.

With my back to the sliver and still sitting on the bed, I felt my head tumble into vacuous and moist palms, my elbows surrendered into my thighs. My lower lip pressing too hard into the heel of my wrists began to grow numb, and so did any fleeting sense of hope. I would never have another relationship. I would never experience happiness. I would never be loved. My world consisted only of that singular empty moment. Line by line entries on my mind’s “to-do” whirl-pooled down an eye of despair. My list as well as my life seemed meaningless.

Although successful at blocking all light to my senses, the air around me became increasingly heavy with slowly intensifying pounding. I feared that the migraine I had so deftly avoided earlier was now sneaking its way into my senses. The knocking however was not originating from within. It was coming from the direction of the light. The heaviness in the air seemed to lighten; the light lifted me off the bed. I circled towards the window, or was the window approaching me? The blinds now filled my scope of vision; with the thumb and two fingers of my right hand I turned the controlling rod to open the glowing blinds.

She filled my room and glistened off the salty tears in my eyes. Bouncing off the sturdy bars of my fire escape, down below she illuminated dancers, musicians, smiles, and joy. We watched the Hispanic Day parade flow along my city street. Sounds of salsa mushroomed; sunlight seemed to approve of the place. I did not have to go out and seek fun or excitement. Fun and excitement came to me. With her continued urging and my Kodak, I crawled though my window out onto the escape. For an hour I sat in her warmth, enjoying the celebration. Finally as I headed back towards my window to put on a pot of water to boil, I noticed a small abandoned potted plant sitting on the fire escape. I would have to get some water for it, right away. Reviving my newly acquired shrub and shaking my hips to the syncopated rhythms bubbling from below, it occurred to me that while I was hiding in fear of the unknown and darkness of solitude, she of course and the world were waiting for me to shine.

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