this is where Jennie lived

This is where Jennie lived. This was my New York.

The floor of the kitchen was an earthy mustard linoleum that was slightly sticky on bare feet. There was a wooden table with a circle of chairs around it and the table was always covered in mason jars and coffee mugs. Nearer the window was a card table that had a coffee-maker and a pineapple on it. The window had bars over it, and never let the sun in right. It blended the light with the air so that the dust in the air was radiating. There was a pistachio colored tea kettle on the left burner of the stove; one of the old kettles that whistles murder when the water is done.
The living room was more of a hallway choked by a sofa and a half dozen bikes in various states of assemblage. After you walked through the tight-rope of walking space there was a bookshelf: old cook books with the tea-stained leaves falling out, huge hardback architecture books with glossy photographs of buildings that looked like this one, and new, slick editions of literary theory.
The rest of the apartment was bedrooms. three of them, each furnished with two beds, two desks, and two sets of posters featuring leftist causes and bands from arcane genres only six people have ever heard of. The windows in the bedrooms looked out onto 115th; closer to Riverside than Broadway and quiet.
The bathroom was tiny, yellowed, and spartan except for the plethora of plastic bottles with flowery scents that barracked along the windowsill. The shower curtain was a frosted green. The sink had only a single, white bar of soap with the letters washed out from use.
All of the floors were long, wooden planks, bearded in places by a pastiche of rugs of various lengths and colors. The walls were dressed with art work and flyers for rallies from months before. It was poorly lit for the most part, with yellow light bulbs in archaic lamps salvaged from thrift stores. There was a sewing machine, unused or just misplaced, beside a large chest-of-drawers. There was history in this place, flitting between the ten foot ceilings and our scalps.
This is where Jennie lived. This was my New York.


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