Sometimes I miss the attic. Well, if not the attic, then the shape of the attic. Especially when I am suddenly aware of the boxiness of rooms. No matter how big the room. In the sudden squareness of one, two, three, four walls, my body doesn't fit quite right, not as my eyes scatter, looking for a corner, a chair, somewhere to anchor my feet so that I can watch, detached.
Niva has finally returned, from the Galapagos Islands, skin lit after days and days of South American sunlight and bearing tales of scuba-instructor love and white-tufted booby mating rituals.
In dresses, we stroll lamplit streets, our hair wind-combed. "You look like forest nymphs," comments the bartender at the Arrow as he snaps pics. The last shot slips down bitter, faintly medicinal, anise. I grimace, especially as men skulk around us, vaguely vulpine in the blue-veined darkness.
Later, we are told to sit in the back, on speakers near a mirror-lined wall. What are we, groupies? Blech. VIP rooms bore. At a birthday party only hours before, I stood in the corner of a VIP room (!), watching as Very Important People snorted coke.
Of course, I made everyone uncomfortable, standing there, merely observing. Suddenly: alien. Invader. I could have left. But I didn't - there was all that space out there, the rest of the party, among the strangers and the acquaintances, where I was also alien. (I wanted to be invisible.)
Beyond that space, there was a lamplit room, with a twin bed layered high with blankets that smelled like me. And under the pillow was a notebook, a pen, and a novel or two.
And that was where I went, into that room beyond the others, even as they giggled and snapped shots of each other.
Tonight, I imagine Annie in Lima, Ohio, sifting through dusty childhood belongings, former belonging and former emotion clinging to these shapes.
That sort of imagining is dangerous, I suppose. It has me sorting out belonging again: to what? to my writing? to site-installation project? to academia? to what sort of friends?
Niva pooh-poohs my feelings of borrowed-home-ness. Don't look for anything profound. And maybe she's right. I am simply in transition, between city and city, girl and woman. The next apartment. Not home, not yet.