My new Maryland view from the fourteenth floor is pastoral on one side; the oranges, reds, browns of autumn in a thick blanket. The urban hustle of the Metro and a construction site form another angle. Living in a corner unit affords the new home sunlight from all sides, as much time as daylight savings will allow. It’s a good building, not as finely finished as my old place in the city; the one so close to the White House where a good loogy could almost hit it. It’s now a seven-minute walk to my office. I’ll no longer have to take that bumpy ride down 16th Street with my twenty-minute Howard Stern fix, and a Big Gulp.
The new place is smaller; there are far less places to put the things I need to see. In the old place, I had a huge walk-in closet that allowed room for my framed gifts from Billy, his nuttiness in full view. There wasn’t a place I could walk in the old apartment where I wouldn’t catch a glimpse, or a wink and nod from my Guyster.
I’m not sure if I can find the same configuration here; sharing it with him, equal space for an equal partner.
This move wouldn’t have been possible, or bearable, without Joe. He’d just kept packing while I was in the corner, clutching a memory, crying. I played out the exact moment of Billy bopping me over and over again with the green stuffed play-hammer that makes a cartoony boing. He’d cashed in his skeeball tickets, bopping me with the glee of an eight-year old while we walked on the Santa Monica pier after his birthday dinner. Reading an email from the late October before, so beautiful in its normalcy, brought me to a halt for some time.
And there was Joe, selflessly working with the knowledge and sensitivity of how delicate this all was for me.
I took off work today to unpack. I’m looking around at all of the unpacked boxes; my new place a one bedroom version of Charles Foster Kane’s warehouse. I’ll go through box after box until I find my Rosebud.