Saturday, October 6, 2012

In Which I Revisit the Apartment Where I Lived With Mr. Ex for 12 Years


“Look mom, do you remember when I used to live here? This was the bedroom, remember?”  My friend Sandy, my mother, and I are edging carefully around shelves that are crammed with nick-knacks now that the ground floor of the building houses an antique store. Yes, she remembers. All the interior walls have been demolished, but we pace off the lines where they used to be. Living room, kitchen, the little dining nook. Isn't it a shame they banged out all the pretty tile? “Stupid fuckers,” I mutter under my breath.
“You're absolutely right,” says a person behind me. She says she used to live in the building, too, but I don’t remember her. I’m somewhat taken aback by my confusion.
“Did you live here, too?” I ask Sandy, feeling that perhaps everyone has passed through this building at some point in their lives. Somewhat distractedly, she tells me no. She is busy ooh-ing and aah-ing over various things in the shop while scooping the little treats from the candy dishes into her purse. Full of energy, Sandy is giggling, loving everything she sees.

As we are about to walk out the door, a woman from the back of the room says that this will sound weird but that Sandy really reminds her of her husband Randy.
“Oh, that’s the way it is,” I say. “Sandys and Randys are practically interchangeable.”

Once we're out on the street, driving away, we see my friend Carol striding down the sidewalk. She’s dressed in peacock blue and her blouse is open revealing a peacock blue bra. “Should we offer her a ride?” I ask Sandy. No, we decide.

Later it seems as if we are checking out of a motel, but it’s my old apartment again in a new incarnation.

After the motel, I’ve left Sandy and my mother, and I’m in an immense white truck. It’s taking me to a boat. Or, rather, it has a boat attached to its side, positioned to be dropped into the water. There’s a man driving it, but I don’t know who he is. He’s a large bear of a man, dark haired with several piercings. This man is kind enough to stop the truck for a moment when I ask him to. My door is open and my seatbelt isn't on, and he stops simply because I ask him to—which I find rather remarkable. I expect him to grumble about having to stop, but he’s friendly. We talk briefly about the boat. We don’t want the boat to drop into the water upside down. He's the inventor of the device that holds the boat to the truck, and he’s worried than when the spring mechanism releases the boat, it will flip over.

I'm not there to see the outcome. I have to rush to a rehearsal. I have snacks that I took from the antique store, which is good, because I'm hungry, and there’s no time for dinner.

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