Tuesday, September 17, 2019

SOLTuesday: A Short Story

(This is a lightly fictionalized account of something that's actually happened. I'm wondering how it reads to people who don't know me.)

She hates me. The woman in 4B. I live in 2B. She wants my apartment. I’ve lived here for 50 years. My husband died here, and so will I.
            She hates me, the woman in 4B. She has three children under 10. Sometimes I see them on the street. I take the stairs instead of the elevator. I’m 78. As long as I can walk up the stairs I will walk up the stairs. 
            Our apartments are the same, but not quite. They each have two bedrooms. But mine has long hallways, hers doesn't. My halls are lined with bookcases; I don't know where she keeps her books. Her kitchen is smaller, her living room is bigger. But the two bedrooms are why she hates me.
            The person who owns the apartment next to mine died. His wife doesn’t want to die in the same apartment, she wants to sell. The woman in 4B thinks if she had my apartment, she and her husband could buy the apartment next door and have lots of bedrooms, lots of room for the three children. The boy is the oldest. The girl is maybe seven, and there’s a new baby.
            Her husband sent an emissary, the real estate agent who lives in 2D.  She said I had many opportunities: I could buy the next-door apartment, put a door between them, rent to a roommate whose rent would pay the extra maintenance, and I’d have another person who’d notice if something went wrong with me. I’m old, after all.
            Or I could trade apartments with the family in 4B. The apartments are the same. The fourth floor would have more light. The apartments are the same. I’d be doing a good deed for that family. I don’t even know them, even though they moved in two or three years ago. I take the stairs, not the elevator.
            But. But. But. I don't want to move. 
            She hates me. I imagine her conversations with her husband. "What's wrong with the old bitch? The apartments are identical. There's an elevator. She'd have more light." And I wonder, why did they have a third kid when they knew they only had two bedrooms?
            But the apartments are different. I love my long hallway. I love my kitchen, which I renovated 10 years ago. Those two extra flights of stairs might be good for exercise, but what about those times when my bladder needs release as soon as I walk down the street to my building? I hate potty talk, but at a certain age bodily functions become insistent. And most important, my husband never lived in that other apartment layout. His memory would get lost without the long hallway and bookcases.
            I tell her husband, no.  I invoke my husband's spirit. He's fine about it. But I know she hates me. 
It’s Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers. Check out this encouraging and enthusiastic writing community and their slices of life every Tuesday. And add one of your own.

1 comment:

  1. I adore this story and I don't know you. It's fascinating this entitlement to be accommodated as if your needs (read wants) supersede those of others. The heart wants. Yours wants to have a three story climb, some lovely bookcases and the kitchen you chose. They will get over it... or not. I adore this story. It belongs with some others about this interesting woman.