i'm somewhere between your arms and the pile of dirty laundry and messy papers in the place i call my apartment. my foot feels like someone ran it over, a 70 year old man has a crush on me and makes kissy lips, i have a tendency to fall for straight girls and gay men, and suddenly i'm wearing all black like any other new yorker. in the sticky summer heat, i'm sitting on your fire escape, drinking chocolate milk. you are watching tv inside, not picking up your telephone, and not answering my questions. i want to leave so badly, but for some reason, can't. i watch two teenagers down the block attempt to figure out how to open up the fire hydrant, and the tears on my face are mixing with sweat and dirt.
cat fur is sticking to my legs, and my skirt is too short and keeps riding up. "you wantin' people to look at you or something?" you asked me. "what, you don't care anyway," i said. you insisted upon a crucifix above your bed even as you engaged in premaritial sex and positions that could never have been condoned by the bible. you called it love and now you called it over.
i stare at the peeling paint on your fire escape, your one dead flowerpot that probably used to have marigolds in it, and two girls making out below me. if only i had it so easy.
when you're passed out and your apartment stinks like bad weed, i climb in the window and walk softly by you, hoping i won't wake you. you call my name as i approach the door, but my slam is the reply. i take the stairs two, three at a time, needing to get out of your house so fast. i know i don't belong.
not wanting to go home, but being too late to wander, i duck into a lounge on my way to the train. i order a martini, and wait for you to meet me. i know you won't; you'll just temporarily curse my absence. i drink two martinis unnoticed. no one talks to me, hits on me, bumps into me. save the bartender, no one knows i am there.
the train is empty. when i get to my stop, i stumbled on shadowy east village streets. streets are ghosts in early mornings. i remember how you kissed me, how you said you hated me.
in my apartment is my cat mewing for food, piles of dirt, sheets that have been on the bed longer than our relationship (and even they are dirty). unable to go in, i smoke cloves on my stoop, one after another, until i have convinced myself i am okay. in my apartment, there are no messages on my answering machine, and i fall asleep on the pile of laundry, cleaner than my sheets and cleaner than you.