From where I sit In this distracted lacquered lecture room I can only think to outline you I imagine the curves and lumps of your scape Dusty, brown a carpeted matting of sage brush and thistles and wibbly wobbly aspen trees tucked into your slippery spots And the clear blue of your encompassing sky Cartographed with traces of cloud tufts and plane trails An open bowl where the sunsets of my youth were mixed with smoky fire crackles and the spitting of old motors And off on the horizon that (imagined now, weighs inside of me) I pretend I can see Blink, there, there Blink Before me, waving and open from the old field nook that patch of brazen earth where I was once at home.
The neighbors across from Andreas must know that I don’t actually live here. I spend too much time lounging on the balcony to be an actual occupant of this apartment. I find myself on the porch in the middle of the day, when it’s miserably hot outside, when no one but a fool would sit, bleary eyed and sweaty, waiting for some reason to move.
Andreas lives on the sixth floor of his building. There are two apartments on each of the seven floors, and a staircase and an elevator that stop on the landing of each floor. It is on a small side street in the … district of Athens. The building is tall and narrow, like all of the buildings surrounding it. On the street outside, a litter of kittens live in a small cardboard box someone has set up for them. This is the only apartment building I’ve been in since getting to Athens, but it seems like a nice enough place.
The apartment itself consists of a large living room, an office to the right of the living room, a bedroom at the back right, a bathroom in the middle, and a kitchen to the back left. Running outside both the kitchen and the living room is a large porch, which rivals the apartment in size. While I stay in Athens for the next week, I’m renting Andreas’s bedroom. He has a bed set up to sleep on in his living room, though he’ll be away, travelling for business until my last few nights.
I find myself realizing how odd it is that for the last few days I have been eating out of his dishes, sleeping on his sheets, using his keys, his toilet paper, his tea spoons; I have been occupying his apartment without a second thought for the fact that this place, with the elevator that I don’t know how to work and the lady downstairs who leaves milk and water dishes out for the stray cat, is not my home.
It’s funny, how newness sweeps you up in a frenzy of forgetfulness. That his kindness is something I paid for – that his hospitality is a service provided by the internet savvy of airbnb.
I wonder if anyone out there actually makes friends in new places anymore.