Apartments are strange places leaving ghosts of their previous inhabitants.
Tiny hands prints at the bottom of the bathroom door. It looks like they may have tried to reach under. How long were they stuck in the bathroom? Did a cruel parent lock them in there? A small child weeping for hours desperate to leave the confined space. Reaching.
A whorl of green crayon is under the built-in desk. No discernible figurative exploration. The same child, perhaps? Rebellion in the form of opening a portal to anywhere else. Alas, young Harold, the crayon wasn't purple and no magic held within to take you away from fates indescribable. New paint covers the dysgraphia of enigmatic youth.
There are bills to names plucked from novels. A Maxamillion lived here and he now qualifies for better rates. Maybe such upticks in credit have moved him into a Jefferson like strata. A pink envelope, the Craigslist Missed Connections of the postal service. The next door neighbor remembers him. Model looking to make it in Hollywood via this city of sin. Long ways from oceanic dreams. He fought with his girlfriend a bit. The place has been remodeled since.
What ghosts do we leave behind? Thumbtack holes of romantic hoarding. Ephemera splashing color on grey. Walls bruised by ambitious nerf wars? Will we leave behind a sense of joy of new love finding a place together? Will the Vegas tacky gold of our couch linger after us reminding the next owners not to take home decorating so seriously? Will the love letters and poems I have hidden reemerge in someone else's hand? Read by new eyes and tossed out as saccharine.
I have lived here before. When this city was in a boom and my parents waited for a house to be built. I lived here when one of the last vestiges of the atomic era were still employing trainers which is what my father did. The famous shot of rain falling into a crown and bouncing slowly upwards also reaching to unattainable heights. That footage was taken to test out the nuanced video capture required for nuclear testing. Take your daughter to work day involved me talking to corporate counsel. There was a plague of locust that discarded their skins in a collective rebirth. Their bodies crunched when you stepped on them but it wasn't a harbinger at all.
I had pneumonia here and spent many hours in a similar bathtub saturated in icy water to keep my temperature down. I was the last of the 6th-grade centers from this apartment complex. We sat on the electrical boxes to wait for an hour bus ride to a school in the “black” area of town. We were rigorously guarded against the neighborhood we were sent to. They ended the program the next year.
Such cycles have dominated my path. Straight and narrow a comfort maybe but nonlinear has been my home. I dreamed up such a man in the silliness of pubescent youth. Reading together. Going to symphonies. Exploring with earnest curiosity. Holding hands. A world before parties and burns. Here I am tucked into the corner of complexity and simplicity in what one would call meta.