There is a girl that has my heart living on the south side of the city. Lydia has given up on trying to be normal and has chosen to recluse inside of an apartment building, inside an apartment door, inside a single room, and inside herself. Not only is she closed off to the world, but also to me and the acceptance of which I offer her. She does not need me nor does she need my occasional quiet visits.
The majority of her apartment is completely bare, lacking furniture and any sign of occupancy. The windows do not have curtains and the light switches have gathered dust. The kitchen has one of those old gas stoves, a barely functioning refrigerator from the seventies, and a small countertop including a drop down sink. Near it sit a single plate, a single pan, and a single fork and knife; the only utensils she owns. The cold November air blows through the drafts requiring long sleeves. I notice that it has pushed the tumbleweeds of dust to the far side of her living room as I stare at the city beyond the dark cirrus clouds shrouded in the pale midnight moon. The living room has a great view of the city; as well as evidence of the brown recluse in every high and low corner.
I walk down to the end of the hall and place my hand on the doorknob of her bedroom. I crack open the door and find her at the sewing machine against the eastern wall. She doesn’t say anything. Her bedroom is of great size and is fully furnished including a bed, a bookcase, a couch, a recliner, a coffee table, and a desk that she uses to sew. She has strung green christmas lights around the upper and lower outline of the walls, covering them with thin transparent fabric and lace. In each corner she has either two or three fake plastic trees strung with all blue christmas lights, and a small forrest of blue lit trees emerging from the window nook blocking the outside view. She has an uncaged pet bird that purrs and flies around the room freely and nest in one of the back trees by the window. She has a cat that chirps and hides beneath the furniture when I am around, rarely coming out to drink from one of the several wine glasses half empty with tap water that she left on the floor of her room.
I approach the bookcase and find the Kierkegaard book I brought her a few months ago. As I sit on the recliner and crack it open for the first time, I say nothing and nothing is said to me. The sound of the sewing machine beats in rhythm as she pieces together a black and gold Napoleon styled jacket complete with epaulettes and fancy arm cuffs. She makes the most beautiful and interesting things… like the framed folk art pictures made from left over or ruined material. Her quiet, artistic nature makes her very attractive.
She does not need me nor does she need my occasional quiet visits. She does not want the responsibility of mending together my brokenness into anything beautiful. I can feel the black bags darkening beneath my eyes as I stand up and place the Kierkegaard book on the coffee table. I make my way through the forrest and lightly push through the branches, keeping them from hitting my face. I pause in the blue-green serenity of the forrest as the wind blows through drafts. Its cold breath is like the cold reality of my situation… hopeless and without the joy of the Lord. I venture a little deeper in the forrest until I find Lydia’s window latch at the back of the nook. I open the window of her thirteen story apartment and stand with my life behind me for the first time. I feel weightless as I take the leap of faith that Kierkegaard wrote about… the world moving in fast forward and death landing on a wet street of a broken American machine.


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