This apartment is one large open room with a corridor connecting it to four others: the kitchen, a washroom, and two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms even has a washroom of its own. The walls are white and the carpet a dirtied white, owing that distinction to the sleeping ward beside me on the couch. Generally, I would have enforced my own rule of her not allowed on the couch but she was well-behaved and even more so when she was curled up neatly in to a ball on the grey cushions: I on one side, her on the other.
I am here because my friends are out of town and couldn’t bare the thought of their little girl being alone for the long weekend, and in the long gaps of time between walks in the sunshine that both thrill her and heat her like a fever I can think. After the first five hours of movies, T.V. shows, and wandering through social media I’ve felt like Captain America waking up from the ice to the exile of an unknown space and time. Getting up for food means cracking knees, ankles, and feet, and the night has darkened the apartment and awakened the city lights outside. They’re a wonderous thing the lights of a city, both a beautiful and inspiring sight that is toxic and destructive of the very horizon it decorates.
I was thinking of my friends as I set the Greek food on the kitchen counter (It was take out I was no longer hungering for but I figured I’d eat it at some point.). While they had been preparing to leave they had told me they would be moving out of this place and the city as a whole soon. Three months, as a matter of fact, because they had both found better jobs and could afford to live somewhere with more trees than concrete. I was feeling retrospective now that the hour was late, and I envied what they had and experienced. Both are attractive people, both had followed their goals and let their ambitions guide them, and both were thriving as individuals as well as they thrived as a pair.
I, on the other hand, found myself happiest right now. A visitor in the home of someone else, standing in a dark and quiet apartment listening to the light traffic outside and the humming of the air conditioner. I envy the lives of my friends but also know that I would be miserable in their shoes, and that makes for a strange mixture of emotions. I’ve ducked opportunities and hidden when I could’ve thrived, and that brought me happiness. I’m here alone with someone else’ view, and I feel happiness.
Back on the couch, without food because my stomach feels empty in a way that doesn’t rumble for food, and I don’t know whether to turn the T.V. back on so I sit. No lights on, phone I think still somewhere in the kitchen, and repeat the same disheartening thoughts on repeat. Thoughts of my life, in the past, present, and future, and thoughts of happiness and how I can’t make sense of it, and the thought spinning around and returning like a chicken on a rotisserie of loneliness. I wish I didn’t feel most comfortable alone.
Beside me Mischa makes yelping noises in her sleep and so I reach out to pet her and let her know everything’s alright. She wakes for a second then readjusts to return to sleep.