“The world is a violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.” – Tennessee Williams
The bedroom had two sunny windows that opened up to a red fire escape. Below stretched a busy sidewalk and a bustling street, like coursing veins between my building and the ones across the way: a deli, a garden store, more apartments. Diagonally down the block, a shiny silver diner’s neon sign blinked silently, its name pulsing in pink cursive.
I planned to position my bed in the corner, next to one window, where I could sit propped against pillows on weekend mornings to sip slices of sky with my coffee. My desk was going to go in front of the other window so I could daydream between scribbling sentences, looking down at the scrambled, scattered currents of anonymous strangers, coming and going while I sat rooted in my chair.
The landlord let me pick the paint color for the kitchen, which had two windows of its own. I chose baby blue. It matched the tiny tiles on the wall behind the sink. There was a deep, wide sill in the bathroom that I imagined propping with potted greenery — a few long-fingered ferns, maybe, with their little leaves lapping up the leftover shower steam.
From the outside, it was nothing special. The front door of the building was pimpled with graffiti, and not the artistic kind — just ugly, aimless scrawls. It sat above an uncharismatic Dunkin’ Donuts. But on the inside, it was perfect. It had the sunlight, the space, the simple abundances I needed. It was the place to replant myself, the way 20somethings must so often do as the seasons shift — as jobs and roommates and rent rates change — in order to continue to grow. It would be the permeable, permutable setting for the next chapter of my story.