Route 7 Review - Page 103

The Photobook By Kedrick Nettleton The movers were out the door, and he could hear them tramping in the hall. From his view by the window, he could see the moving truck on the street, see them hauling the last few boxes up the ramp. He waited a few minutes, watching them as they secured their cargo, and then drove away. As the truck waited at the stop light down the street, he sighed and went to sit down. There wasn’t much to sit down on, of course. Most of the furniture had been taken, and all that was left was the holey sofa that had been in the apartment when he had moved in. It was gray, and there were various mystery stains all over the fabric, but he sat down on it without complaint. He loved that sofa, every tear and every stain. As he looked around at his apartment, he sighed again. On one side, there was a short flight of steps that led up to the second story, which really wasn’t more than a loft. On the other, his small kitchen stood sad and empty. The fridge was gone, the stove was gone. The only thing left was his small microwave, which stood on top of one of two boxes near the door. Next to these was his suitcase, and a small canvas backpack. The only possessions he had with him, for now. He really, really hoped this worked. If not, the world wouldn’t end. Everyone had been telling him for weeks how his life was about to become so much more fulfilling. After all, California was so much warmer than here – he’d be only a few miles from the beach, and could finally work on that tan he had never wanted. His new job was a promotion in every sense of the word. He would be directly in charge of so many more employees, and his company would finally be able to withstand the demand that he had always dreamt it would draw. His new house was much bigger than the prime downtown real estate he stood in now, and the cost of living was comparable. Maybe he’d even get a dog to fill up that spacious backyard. He shook his head absentmindedly. No, the world wouldn’t end. Maybe it would even improve, for a little. But his world would end. He’d given his whole adult life to this place, to this city. The apartment that he had just emptied represented much, much more than the beginnings of a company’s success, or the bachelor pad he had lived in during his prime. This place was his everything for the last thirteen years. It would work. It had to work. He ignored the bags by the door as he got up and walked slowly up the stairs. A part of him wanted to run up as fast as he could, like a giddy child on Christmas morning, but his doubt stopped him. If this didn’t work, he wanted to be able to believe in it for as long as possible. If hopes were to be crushed, then he would prolong the wait as long as possible. That’s why he had waited so long to try this. Packing his apartment, sending all of his possessions across the country, relocating his employees – none of that would matter if this did work. If it didn’t, though, he was determined to be prepared. He supposed that doubt made him a coward, but even that fact didn’t speed his steps on the stairs. Each pace was slow and controlled. The door to his bedroom swung open with the same creaking that it always did, but it didn’t feel familiar to him. Like this, the room didn’t feel like his home. The hardwood floors were swept clean – something that was never true when the apartment was inhabited. The bed was gone, the desk was gone. The windows, looking out on the beautiful city skyline, didn’t have the potted plants in them that they normally did. There was no warmth here now. He studiously ignored this fact as he walked across the room and opened his closet door. All of his clothes were gone, of course, and anyone else who had looked in would have quickly closed the door; it was completely empty. He didn’t close