The gigantic city loomed over me as I walked to my new home. I had just rented an apartment inRochester,New YorkfromBuffalo,New York. Even though the two cities are very close, my mother was an agoraphobic so me, my sister, and my autistic brother never really traveled much. After collage, Grad school, and art school, I felt ready to make my own career and life. And get as far from crammed, hot, stuffy Buffalo as I could without isolating myself from, Lisa, my head strong sister ready to go to Collage, Ryan, my confused, autistic brother with an obsession with The Age of Discovery more intense than Copernicus, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Galileo all combined, And Mama, my funniest and most understanding friend in the world. I had two big boxes to hold and the rest were thing in my backpack and the big, old, tapestry messenger bag handed down from my mother. Because of this, I felt okay to walk all around park avenue with out problem. Finally I got to the apartment. I looked up; it was a tall, brick building with blue shudders and green painted windows and doors. There was a garden at the back which added the sense that maybe this building was a school or a hospital. I walked in with complete confidence to find a small, comfy looking lobby with light blue walls, brown corduroy sofas and white painted tables holding games, puzzles, book, magazines, and children’s toys. I walked over to the main desk seating a heavyset man with graying hair and a blue shirt covered by a brown blazer on top of navy pants. He looked like those well known, old British actors that should be flattered by their old age. As if the extra body fat and gray hair and wrinkles all flattered him. His face seemed heavy, well set and something about him and all the actors made you wish that they were like that for the rest of their life. There was something pleasing about the way his face was. And I found myself staring at him.
“can I help you” he said, trying not to judge. I left my little cloud of day dreaming and started to giggle and feel the redness of my cheeks as I felt embarrassed.
“yes” I pulled out my I.D to show him who I was. “I rented an apartment here”
“oh!” He seemed excited for some reason. “You’re the girl fromBuffalo! My daughter moved there. Perhaps you know her, Her name is…”
“please, not to be rude, but please give me the keys. I am a little anxious, sorry. You can tell me her name later?”
I was nervous; this guy was so cool that I would hate to get on his wrong side. He nodded so apparently he understood. He showed me to the room and even helped me carry my things. At the door, he gave me the keys, nodded again and looked at me as if to give me a warning. At the other side of the door, I heard music. It was very
“Be careful,” He also seemed worried for me.
“The woman in there is angry, fierce, like a tiger. Her family shunned her, hates her simply for reasons no one knows about. She spends all of the day drinking, playing, and shouting. The only reason she is still here is because I don’t want to make one more homeless person. I apologize for keeping you here but the whole place is full but here and its’ the same reason I try to calm the angry neighbors. If she does not like you too much, I promise that I will find another place for you here, maybe even better.” Then, patting my back, he sighed
I opened the door to a total and complete mess. There were clothes on the floor and bottles every where, on the table and the refrigerator and every flat surface. In the middle of the apartment, was a woman. She was sitting on a chair, bottles under it were surrounding her bare, dirty feet. She was holding a cello between her dirty pants and a black T-shirt with rosin essence all over it. The old man was right; this woman was a wreck. But I also knew that no person becomes like this by being absolutely happy and loved and confident. I put down my things; there is a time and place for everything. I walked over to her. “GET OUT OF HERE! I don’t need you”
She started to cry. “I’m perfectly fine!” She tried to convince herself.
I slowly made my way through the junk.
“well,” I said, trying not to make her even more upset. “My name is Jane, and its very nice to meet you. What is your name?”
“Lena” her bitterness turned into depression. She got up from her chair and walked toward me. “but it doesn’t matter; My life is over.”
“why is your life over? I mean, even though your life may have hit a bump in the road, you can’t ever give up.” This girl seemed so
Lonely and sad. She needed someone, she needed me. I appreciated the man’s warning, but that warning was for a beast, notLena. She fell to the floor, sobbing “C’mon, you can tell me. I mean, I am not leaving you in a state like this so you might as well.” Then with absolute gentility, I sat next to her, stroking her tangled hair. “Oh honey, please tell me. I need to know, because you need someone to understand you. I know, deep inside, you are a beautiful woman. But you need to bloom. You are just a flower in the early spring.” I said soothingly.
Through hot tears, she started to crack.
“My mother, she is this religious freak. She always told me that I will meet this “nice husband” But I never felt that way.” she sighed. “ Then one day after Collage, I met this beautiful woman, at that moment, I was in love” I was in shock. I did not know that this woman was like me! I had always felt like this but could never find a way to be open with it. “After we I proposed , I really wanted my family to approve. So I brought Riley to the house during Mom’s birthday. She went insane; she cried and yelled and swore for the first time. When she took a knife and tried to stab me and Riley, we just ran to the car, and drove. After that, Riley called off the wedding. I never heard from her since. But I came from work one time, and my cello was completely ruined, someone took a knife and carved terrible crap in it. It was Mom. But when I got a new cello I could stop feeling ruined and dead. The rest is history.” She looked at me. “I’m sorry, You must think I’m some kind of demon or something”
I chuckled. “actually…”
That tortured, heartbroken woman in front of me suddenly turned into the love of my life. That day, I wasn’t moving in as a roommate, but as a partner.