It’s 4:00 a.m., pitchdark outside the vertical living room blinds. This Saturday morning, I’m apparently the only one up in this entire mega apartment complex. Finally, quiet–a respite from an argument going on in the apartment above me: a daughter, I think, fighting with her mother. Foot-stomping, wall-banging, door-slamming, fuck-youing. The walls, ceilings are thin here, this rental built of particle board and plastic. I should call Security. I’ve endured this for weeks.
But instead I slowly, stiffly leverage myself out of bed without disturbing Boo, limp down the hallway, and now sit at the kitchen table on a rolling desk chair cushioned with a big fat bedpillow and a heating pad at my back wrapped in my soft cozy robe like some ancient Mrs. Cravitts scowling about her aches and pains. There is a fluorescent light above. I don’t bother with a candle, crystals, or the rituals I used to follow. I’ve made a mug of Morning Thunder–my pre-coffee caffeinated tea with almond milk and Turbino sugar–and I journal on the scarred wooden top of the table we bought at Goodwill for ten bucks. It’s chilly and I’m occupying an energetic circle of pain: its tough to sit very long because I stiffen up. There’s little pleasure in my chair pose at this MacBook keyboard– a position I used to love! This past summer back in Chapel Hill, every morning after Ebrahim went off to the Ratman job, I would drive or bike the l0 minutes to swim at the UNC Recreation Center and then put on low-heeled booties with ankle socks and a shortie dress like someone half my age. At Mercury Coffee and Ice Cream shop, I’d get a two-dollar coffee and sit at a high table on a stool for hours–writing, drafting, creating my course (the design business of training) tucked away from the cacophony of the other clientele with my Beats on until the aircon behind the gelato cabinet goosebumped even my knees.
At Los Pinones we rent a chalkgray and white cheaply-renovated apartment and we are just two among a non-community of other apartment dwellers–the Latina mom, her ten year old daughter and their yapper dog down one flight; the older single man up one; directly above us that stomper single mom and her profanity-spouting kids. We haven’t even unpacked. Persian rugs are rolled up in the open furnitureless living room. My vintage black Harley stands in the middle, a hopeful symbol to a future orientation. A small bedroom has a knock-together Ikea sewing table and Target stackable storage cubes.
The great pleasure of this flat is the second bedroom with my bed, the one piece of furniture that made the cut during the exodus from Willow Green. With white high-count Egyptian cotton sheets and a down duvet and three Euro pillows deep, I spend a great deal of time there, propped up reading (after Nine Parts of Desire and In Search of Islamic Feminism, now rereading The Iranians) or writing on my laptop, snuggling down for nap—a permission of healing I give myself every afternoon, pulling the blinds to half-mast and making a white ceramic mug of ginger tea with honey, burning a Pondicherry stick of incense in a glass cylinder. I have nightstands! Two off-white matching ones we found at Restore Habitat for Humanity last week. For the last year in transient spaces, I’ve tumbled my coffee on the floor in the Kengri Hobli hovel, set it on a stack of books near the sleeping mat in the Chapel Hill tiny house, or balanced it on a two cinder blocks and a board in the flat in Ulaanbaatar. The proximity of a table with a reading lamp is luxury.
Ebrahim and I are in search of a place where the bed and nightstands fit. For the past weeks, we’ve look at high-end vanilla beautifully finished two story townhomes in mega complexes, lofts designed with Denver-urban open ductwork, and Homewise new construction out at Osha: all out of our price range and not the fixer-upper we’re in search of. Stay posted. We know our dream project is waiting out there somewhere.
This digital piece is inspired by that argument upstairs. Inside my brain other females take up space: the sister who blisters, the princess who gossips, the friend who pretends. I say to this trio of Harpies: I’m done with your Occupy Mind Movement! Images from my fave photographer, tunes by Issa Bagayoga and a short storyline share digital space in cootie.