Somehow, even at daylight, the shadows remain. I flip the light switch to its on position, and nothing changes. I’m not surprised that the electricity has been cancelled, but I am caught off guard when I go to wash my hands, and the sink doesn’t respond to a turn of the knob. I’m not sure if I had expected them to wait another day or two to actually turn off my water, or if I had just assumed that their lack of urgency when it came to resolving incorrect bills carried over to their disconnections. Of course, only one of those actually impacts them. I turn the faucet to off, so it won’t scare whomever is in the apartment when new tenants reconnect. It does make my plan to clean the counters somewhat more complicated.
But, in truth, this is only what I am thinking after the fact. When I am actually in the apartment, all I can think about is how badly I want to get out.
In my last month of living there, I felt the apartment take on a life it had never had. It was crushing, despite being spacious. I felt crowded, despite being alone. The walls felt oppressive, angry. I wasn’t sure whether it wanted me to stay or go, but I could definitely tell it hated me.
On one of the last days, I was packing up my desk, and I found some slightly charred flakes of a bud of marijuana I had bought the year prior. With every breath of smoke, the air opened, and I was finally comfortable in the skin under that roof. I was able to pack my things faster, unconcerned for the apartment’s thoughts on the matter. I was getting out, and freeing my mind from the cage that had been slowly constructed brought me a new sense of purpose.
And that cage is suddenly dropped on my foot today, and I can feel the bones being crushed. How much do I really need these last few items? I inventory them in my head, and unfortunately, they all need to be rescued. Including the ones in the closet in the far back room, where there is no light. The sun is past the point where it provides any assistance, and the room itself is cast in a pall of late evening. The closet itself, black as pitch. I am pretty sure that I emptied it, but what if I’m wrong? And what if I go inside, and discover it’s not empty, that the unnerving ripples going through the skin on the back of my neck are onto something? What if I don’t feel alone, because I’m not alone? Is it just the apartment, and memories thick as molasses and sharp as razor wire tightening around my lungs, or is there something more tangible, more dare I say evil, lurking in the blackness?