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
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
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
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.