Friday, August 13, 2010

A Different Kind of Alive

I keep suddenly looking around at the walls and ceiling of this New York apartment where I used to live and thinking, "How did I get here?" A few days ago I was peacefully living with my husband in my new Durham North Carolina life and now suddenly I am back in New York, working at the job I escaped from five months ago. It could be a nightmare, you know? Or an episode of the Twilight Zone, where I come home from work and my apartment is the same but slightly different. The bedroom furniture that was mine since age 8 are in another woman's bedroom, filled with her clothes. A once-thriving plant that I potted in a beautiful yellow flowerpot sits in the front room, quietly dying. An old apron that I used to wear when baking hangs from a hook in the hallway, but I don't know if anyone ever wears it. I opened the hall closet and there was the metal rolling cart I used to move in and out of every New York apartment I ever had. Next to the kitchen sink is the gallon of dish-soap that E bought over a year ago when she and I lived in Harlem together, over on St. Nicholas Avenue. I'm predicting that soap will last another ten months. There are things here in this apartment that used to be part of my life, but really aren't anymore, except that I recognize them. When I leave, I'll leave them behind for the second time. Will I ever see them again? Who will they belong to then?

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