It was early in the morning when she attacked the pipe with a large soup spoon in her tiny apartment. She said, “That’s a sign for the super to turn on the heat.”
But of course, the sign never works. A winter fly somehow found refuge and flew around the small kitchen. On the wall, a yellow fly swatter with a white handle hung like an explanation of a month long infestation. The dried remnants of other flies smashed into the mesh proved the winter fly was the only one left.
“Damned fly,” she swatted.
Apparently, the super was unaware of the rapping pipes, which now echoed from the apartments above to the apartments below.
“We woke them,” she said.
Now, a chain of other tenants banged against the rising steam line.
In my early morning silence, the unfriendly hours without sleep left me to want nothing more than a cup of coffee.
“Did you want something,” she asked.
“I thought you said you were going to make coffee?”
Her cabinets and sink were leftover from the pre-war days. Her refrigerator was small and equally old. The white doors on her cabinets hung crooked and while I sat there, teased by the winter fly, and listening to the chain reaction of clanging pipes, the girl opened and closed each of her cabinet doors.
“Where the hell is the coffee,” she wondered.
Near the stove, a stained coffee pot sat with dried brown glass as if it hadn’t been cleaned or used in months.
A white cord that led to the outlet appeared dirty, and above, the fluorescent light flickered its dim bluish-white light.
She asked, “Is instant coffee ok?”
“That’s ok….I can get a cup of coffee later.”
“Are you sure? I have Sanka?”
Maybe it was the dim light. Maybe it was the lights at the afterhours club, but with sunrise on its way, and my visit still physically loveless, all I wanted to do was go home.
In my race to sexual victory, the distance I felt between myself and the girl was astounding. There was no hope for us. There was no reason for me to be there.
She was unattractive and became more unattractive as I looked around her messy apartment.
I could see the ramp to the 59th Street Bridge from her window and thought, “I could be home and sleeping in 30 minutes.”
Then I thought about the girlfriend I had just lost. I thought about the lonely feeling of sleeping in my room and how everything about it reminded me of her.
I hated the girl I used to love. I hated her only because I loved her. So rather than retreat and head back to the room I felt so vulnerable in, I stayed in a studio apartment and listened to a girl I had no interest in explain about her life.
It’s amazing what we trade to not feel alone. I use this memory to remind me who I was…..
This way, I will never feel that way again.
Have a good night, folks