Apartment 1108 – 5:00pm A woman sits at her glass table in the penthouse, the gorgeous city skyline hidden by her dark drapes. The lights are off. She’s lit up by the glow of her laptop as she tries to figure out how she’s going to pay the rent. The company she was a senior manager at went bankrupt at the beginning of the pandemic. She’s not qualified to work anywhere else. Too young to retire. Too old to try a tech job. 

Apartment 1008 – 5:02pm “We’d like to offer you the position as a customer success specialist with Skyline  eservices,” the friendly HR woman reveals in the Zoom call. He knew it was coming. He’d nailed his third interview. He’d prayed for this. This is huge. This will change everything for him. He’ll get a consistent salary, a company car. He can finally quit his job at Starbucks. Get an apartment of his own.  He can’t wait to tell his lousy roommate he’s finally moving out. This is the first day of the rest of his life.

Apartment 908 – 5:05pm Mother and daughter return home from the funeral. They’re both emotionally exhausted. Grandma had a great life. She’d fought the cancer for as long as she could. Now that she was gone, they can finally clean out her old bedroom. But neither can bear to look in the direction of that room. They warm up cans of soup for dinner and discuss finally adopting a dog from the shelter. 

Apartment 808 – 5:06pm The parrot squawks from his perch. He watches as the rabbit bounces around in his pen, munching happily on his hay. Across the room the rat spins round on his wheel, safely in his cage. The most unlikely trio. The spend every day together, mostly alone, waiting for someone to get home. 

Apartment 708 – 5:10pm A woman pushes though her front door to find flowers on the front table. Tulips. Her favourite. Hanging from the ceiling are red and pink streamers, and pictures of her and her boyfriend of 5 years. 5 years today. It’s their anniversary. She walks further into the apartment following the path of rose petals to the living room, where she finds him. Like a prince on one knee. “Yes! A thousand times yes!!!”

Apartment 608 – 5:12pm A couple is half asleep on their couch when their newborn baby starts to whimper. She pretends not to hear it at first. She’s trying to hold onto this restful feeling for just a few more seconds before the baby starts shrieking again. She’s not sure if she can do another day of his crying. Through her half closed eyes, she catches a glimpse of her little baby’s glossy tears on those rosy cheeks. She takes in that slightly upturned nose, that inexplicably red hair, and her heart is full. For that boy, she’ll muster all the energy in the world.

Apartment 508 – 5:16pm “I HATE YOU!” “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!“ “HOW COULD YOU!” This is really it. This is the fight to end all fights. Irreconcilable differences. It’s been a long time coming. They found him passed out in the building hallway in front of their own door. The neighbors were taking pictures. His key had broken in the lock. He was piss drunk again in the middle of the day. On their son’s 3rd birthday. 

Apartment 408 – 5:20pm The twins are playing PlayStation in the living room while their dad makes tacos for dinner. It’s his week with them. The older of the two by 2 minutes power slams his baby brother on the screen. It’s a knockout. The younger one yelps as if maimed in real life, jumping up and smashing down his controller. He grabs the TV remote in a blind rage and hurls it at the ground. The batteries scatter in different directions on the parquet floor. He stomps his furious feet to his bedroom, then slams the bedroom door. The startled cat scrambles under the couch. 

Apartment 308 – 5:25 The man awakes with a startle on his recliner where he’d fallen asleep reading a novel. There it is again. The slamming. The stomping. The running. The incessant noise from above. Thuds. Chair screeches.  The faint sound of music or laughter at times. He’s been told time and time again it’s not personal, but how can it not be. Whoever lives above him must know he lives below them all alone. Helplessly. They know he’s an old widowed man near the end of his life at their mercy. One of these days; he’s going to go give them a piece of his mind. 

Apartment 208 – 5:28 Empty. Unoccupied. Uninhabited. Dusty from the renos. The 900 square feet that have housed multiple people; singles, couples, families, roommates and more is finally due for a makeover. Move over mustard brown linoleum floors and cream laminate countertops. Here comes the grey marble everything. Here comes a new generation of memories to be made. You’d never guess they found old revolvers taped up beneath the kitchen sink. If those walls could talk through all those layers of paint. 

Apartment 108 – 5:30pm The building’s superintendent collapses into his bed after a long day. Work orders back to back peppered with minor emergencies and an entire hour of dealing with the malfunctioning elevator. He hopes everyone in the building is happy and safe as he shuts his eyes for a well-deserved nap. His cat snuggles up beside him. Then his on-call work cellphone goes off.


20 thoughts on “The Building

  1. Home Office – 03/03 – 8:07AM
    The poet finishes his Morning Pages & switches over to his “Reader” list. He comes across an absolutely riveting piece of writing about multiple humanities, all existing together yet alone at a specific (and small) window in time. He smiles. He goes back and reads it again. He smiles again. He drops a positive comment, and leaves a note of thanks for the extremely talented author.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Had me hooked from start to finish. You were so much itnto these people’s lives, their thoughts and desires, that it touched me in ways I hadn’t expected – not from a blog, anyway! Thank you for a lovely piece of writing.


  3. It reads like you knocked on every door, spent several minutes inside, and then walked away as you scribbled your notes. So believable. Pick an apartment building, any building, and the same spectrum of life scenarios is taking place, all under one roof.

    Liked by 1 person

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