What was she doing here in this hot weather? The day was hot and humid, yet going in and out of the subway would have been too expensive. Her chin hit the sidewalk. It happened almost without her realizing it. One minute she was up and the next down. Her whole body hurt but the chin got the worst of it. he hoped someone in the street full of people would offer to help her up. No one did. he struggled up again as best she could, picking up her purse. She shook her head and on she went. The day was too bright to think about heartlessness.
I lost. I lost you, my little one. You are doing well. I have seen pictures to prove that. You lead a good life, but I don’t see you. I have no life with you anymore. This hurts me more than anything I have experienced these last years—not having you has cost me more than money, more than sleepless nights. You’re gone and I will never get you back. Sometimes living on memories is not an option.
He stood as near the door as he could. His left hand held on to the suitcase while the right took care of the duffel bag. It wanted to fall on the floor. There were many other passengers in the subway car. The train stopped. First he pushed the suitcase, and kicked it forward with his foot. Then his hand grabbed the duffel. It must have been heavier than he thought. He winced, then held it again before rushing out the open door.
Yes, out. That’s right. I need an out. I need to push myself out of the quandary, out of the situation. It is hard, often extremely hard. I can express my feelings now because I am calmer, but when I was in the thick of things, I couldn’t think straight. I sincerely couldn’t. I see, I look around me and I can’t believe what I see. It is chaos. It is living in some nowhere place.
She felt the grey. She tasted the grey. It was hard and bitter and it tasted like winter. The winter in her mouth was windy, very windy, and it pushed her around. It got her to places she didn’t like, places she didn’t belong in. She dreamed of summer, of happy summers where she could run free and be herself. In the bleak winter, she had to watch her back. She couldn’t trust anybody.
She knocked on the door, her hand on her mouth. “Please come out. I need to use the bathroom.” Behind the door she could hear a young voice humming a tune. More minutes passed. The door remained closed. She sat down and put her soap and towel next to her on the chair. A woman walked from the kitchen to the bathroom door. ”Come out of there. She needs to use the bathroom.” The young girl yelled something. The door of one of the bedrooms opened. A middle-aged man with a paunch asked: “What is going on here?” The woman who had been in the kitchen explained the situation. “The lady here needs to get in the bathroom. She’s not feeling well.” The man shrugged. “What do you want me to do about it? I can’t drag her out by the hair.” “Please,’’ the boarder’s voice was weak.” I almost fainted on the subway. I just want to take a short shower and go to bed.” The man shrugged again and knocked on the door. “Come out, Madeleine. She’s making a big deal out of you being in there.” I am making a big deal? The boarder thought. ”This man lives here without paying rent. Thanks to me, he can do that. I pay rent.” After more minutes, the door finally opened. “This is your house, Madeline,” the man told his girlfriend daughter. “You can do what you want here.”
The days when we were together are gone.You were my secret treasure. I could not not love you. I could not want to be with you. Being with you saved me. I looked at you and my unfortunate circumstances disappeared as if by magic. I would have risked anything for you. I woke up in the morning with a purpose. You were my goal.
The water was hot. She washed the dishes as fast as she could. I want to listen to what the guy on TV is saying. Foreclosure. I hate that word. But I want to know more. I need to know more, what happened to other people. The water was too hot. She turned it off. No point in ruining my hands. The experience ruined me years ago. An elderly woman’s voice was telling the reporter how she had to stay at a shelter after she was evicted from her home. Suddenly I had no money, no savings. I had nothing. The dishwasher let it out. Tears ran down her cheeks. No! No! She couldn’t stop crying. Damn it! That’s also my story.
I am so sorry. You just cannot move freely here. I have to tell you when to start. I need to open the door, go out into the kitchen and living room. I make sure that the cost is clear. Then and only then can you move in a limited way. Please do not ask me why this is so. I cannot explain it. This is a house but it is not a house. I have no idea what it is. Maybe it is just a bed.
What are you doing? The middle aged guy asked. Oh, no.Not him, not again. She showed him the red bowl. There is no water here. Someone must have knocked it over. I am sorry. You can’t open the door. You have opened it several times already. The cats need water. It’s hot, she said. And I need to go downstairs to get air. It is so stuffy in here. This is not your house. Really, then what am I doing paying rent? You don’t rent the apt. You rent a room. This is my house. How can that be? I don’t see you paying rent. I rent my room from your girlfriend, not you. She shrugged her shoulders and went to get the water. How can I understand these people? Where are they coming from? It’s hard to put myself in their place. Before going to bed she overheard the middle aged guy say something about her being nosy. Let’s tell her friend to find her a new place to live. She wanted to cry, but she was tired. If only there was safety and peace somewhere. Nowhere had never been a fun place.
There you were standing and talking with your friends. There was something different about you. At first, I didn’t know what it was. I looked at you closely. It was your hair. I noticed something different about your hair. Last week it had been longer. Now it looked like a crew cut. You had done it. You went and got a haircut. Why didn’t you let me know? I should have known. I wanted you to tell me. A woman acquaintance approached me. “Yes, what is it?” I asked her sharply. Her laugh was nervous. We stood on the sidewalk. “I’m sorry,” I apologized.” It’s not your fault. I’m just upset about something. It’s nothing to do with you.”