Top floor apartments shelter stair noises, no longer content belonging to levels, they die where brick and stucco meet the morning fog.
But the hollow footsteps compete for space within the soundscape, challenging my neighbors, arguing in Spanish, deaf translations to my English trained brain, it’s the tone I recognize and door slams and whimpering, establishing human “love” as the true victor.
‘Ha,’ I think. ‘Fools. Why invest in such tragedies?’
From my window I watch a squirrel scamper along the roof of a neighboring apartment complex. The animal pauses before a broken shingle, rips a splinter from its jagged edge, carries it away in their mouth.
I imagine they’ll use it for their nest.
We know this hole exists.
Those living in the building won’t be aware of its presence until moisture soaks the wood and dibbles hello, to the renter below.
I like that we share this secret about crippled shelter.
It’s a power complex to offset my loneliness.
Weeks ago, I met a standalone happiness.
A smile which qualifies my other secrets for execution, to make space for something new.
Content to feel my heart-beat fluctuate when my cell phone vibrates with a notification.
‘Maybe it’s them!’ Is the first thought.
I allow the phone to rest a few seconds, check it and sigh in acceptance, another email about nothing.
I’ll spend the next few moments rationalizing why I feel such joy from rejection.
Can’t feel happiness without sadness.
Can’t miss a touch if I had never felt it.
Can’t appreciate the blah, blah, blah.
The squirrel returns. Well. I don’t know if it’s the same one, but for the sake of my sanity, I’ll pretend they’re returning to me.