Subcutaneous Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 20

have ditched the place entirely, leaving the rest of the scrubbing and unpacking for another time to go find a few friends to have dinner with. Instead, I sat under the sallow glow from the bulb in the kitchen with a boxed dinner from the microwave and wondered how many people had lived here. Had this area belonged to a maid back when the old house had been a grand painted lady? Or had it been the sleeping quarters of the least favorite child? Either way, the near-blackness of the darkly stained wood trim, the groans and squeaks of the ancient floorboards, and the peeling wallpaper did not give the place a homey feel. How many souls had sat here, just as I was, rattling around inside themselves with the disorientation that can only be caused by such emotional upheaval? I unpacked a couple of boxes before I collapsed into bed that night, sinking into the ancient bedstead I had just finished reassembling despite the musty smell that rose through the sheets.   I was just drifting off when the knocking started. It was quiet at first, as though someone on the other end of the house had laid their dinner plate on the TV table too heavily. But it increased slowly, cutting into my drowsy state with urgency until it was right above my head. My eyes flew open, and I scowled at the wall where all the fingerprints were. I had scrubbed at them thoroughly, but they returned as soon as the wood paneling dried. I already wrote a note to myself to ask Mrs. Pritchett if I could paint over the damn things.  But at the moment, I just wanted the racket to stop. I reached up and rapped my knuckles against the wall. “Trying to sleep here.” I said loudly. The knocking ceased instantly and without apology. Satisfied, I closed my eyes and rolled onto my side. It would take some time to get used to sleeping with someone on the other side of the wall, but I would get there. The jerk on the other side of the wall didn’t seem to agree. The knocking started up again, rigorously pounding against the fossilized wood. I sat up and slammed my fist against the wall. “Cut it out, asshole!” Once again, the knocking ceased. Too angry to settle back down into sleep, I tossed and turned for an eternity before my eyelids began feeling heavy again. At the third knock, I got completely out of bed. I slapped my palms on the antiquated headboard, no doubt placing my own fingerprints on top of the ones that I was not able to erase earlier in the day. Pulling as much breath into my lungs as I could muster, I screamed. I think the word I actually said was “Stop,” but it was lost in the rage of the last few weeks that was finally making its way out of my body and into the world. I’d lost a nice place to live, a man I thought had loved me, and my dignity. I felt as though I was holding onto life by a few measly scraps, and whatever scumbag who didn’t want me to sleep was poking at my open wounds. Though the sound stopped once again, I didn’t try to go back to bed. I pulled the blanket from its place on the mattress and dragged it out to the couch. My television wasn’t hooked up to anything yet, and I hadn’t unpacked any books. Grumpy and irritated, I rolled myself in the blanket and collapsed onto the couch, closing my eyes against the creaking and groaning of the old house around me. *** I woke with the sun, in no better mood than I had been when I finally fell asleep.  The early morning cast a dismal gray throughout my apartment, creating an atmosphere that did not inspire a long day of housekeeping. Pulling on yesterday’s jeans and sweatshirt, I went outside and down the stairwell. Standing in the parking lot near the odd array of cars—there was a Lexus parked next to my rattletrap—I could see the house completely. The stairs that led up to my apartment were on the right side, but there wasn’t another set that went to the second floor.  I had to circle around to the back of the house before I found the right set of steps that I could trace up to the apartment next to mine. Whoever ٕѡɔݽձɽ䁹Ё)͕Ѽ͕ͼɱ䁽Mɑ䁵ɹ$)͵($)QȁѼѡ́Ё݅́ЁѥѼ)%Ёٕ݅́Ѽѡѥհͥѡ͔)͍ȰՍ䁑ȸ$eЁѡȁѼ)ȁє́$ѽѡѕ́չѡ)ȸ%а$ЁչչѥЁ܁Ѽɕٕ)չɰ1Ёӊé݅́͵ɕ)ȁ͡ѽݥѠȁѡ)݅́ѡѡȁɥи($+q]гt͡($+q$݅ЁѼ܁Ёݡԁѡԁɔ݅и$eЁ܁ݡЁԁѡ)ԁٔɔЁ$ݽeЁѽɅєи'eɕ)ԁѼ5̸AɥэЁԁЁt5䁅ɕ)݅́յЁѡɔ݅́ݡɔѼͼ$݅)͡ݽ́$х Q́䁵)ɥȰ͔$܁$ٽ̸($+q] $eЁ܁ݡЁ׊eɔхлt)!ȁՔ́ݕɔɱ䁍ɽ͕չȁѡ͵Ց)啱ȸQɔ݅́ѕݡЁ݅́͡ ($+qeЁٔѡЁ͡и$ɐԸeԁ)Ʌչѥ$ѡԁхѕ)Q́ͻeЁͽéMٔѼ)Յ䁝ЁѼݽɬѡɹt$݅ͻe)ѼݽɬѡЁ䰁ЁѡЁ݅ͻeЁѡи($+q$eЁٕЁɔչѥѡɕt͡յq$)ݽɬѡЁ͡лt($)Q͔́ٔ$݅́ɕɕȁȁѼ)аЁЁݥѠم͔ q%́ѡɔ役͔ѡ)ٕ́ѡ́t%Ё݅́Օѥ$ձͥ䁡ٔЁѡɅͥѥхɍ͕́ѡͥ)ѡեɕЁаЁЁ݅́ɕͅ)ЁѡЁ䁕͗éѵЁѕѼѥ)($+q9tѡɰɵȁչ)ѡɽ՝ȁхȸ qQɕܰݼ)Qӊéи=tMeЁٔѼݕ)Ёͱѡȁ䁙$͕ٕи(($)%Ё݅́䰁Ёѡ䁅ݕɔЁѡЁи%$)݅ͻeЁݥѠ͡䁱ѱѵаȁٕݡ)$̰݅䁉Ʌ݅́ݥѠѡ՝́)$)ձeЁѽݥѠѡЁѡȁݽ$)eЁ܁ݡЁ͡ȁٕݡЁȁ)̰݅Ё䁵͕Ѽɕє٥٥ɔ)ɕɑ̸M݅́ɽ䁉ȁ剔ɕѡɔѥѡ䁵䁉ɽݸȸ((0