Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jealousy 6

Gritting my teeth, I turn to my right and walk down the hall to my apartment. At my door I gently trace the gold 726 hanging on the front of it. John’s birthday. I couldn’t believe my luck when the grounds manager told me this particular apartment was open.

I search through my small purse for my keys. It takes a little while before I find them. When I do, I slide the pink encased key into the door handle and twist it to the right. Then I insert a green encased key into the dead bolt, turning the key two full revolutions. As I push the door open, I drop my keys back into my purse. I step into the small foyer. It’s a misnomer as it is really two coat closets across from one another. I can see into the living room and can tell Laura has been home. Magazines are spread across the deep walnut color of the coffee table; a few are spilling over the corner. She has left what I imagine was a full cup of flavored latte sitting on the table and there is a blue dessert plate with bread crumbs nestled against the carefully carved feet of the table. The red throw blanket is crumpled in the middle of the love seat and the pink pillows are piled against the arm.

I set my purse on the little table just inside the door. I hang up my coat and take off my work shoes, placing them neatly in the closet. I love the feel of the cool hardwood floors under my feet. I drag my feet, still in socks, across the delicious smoothness of the walnut floor. I inhale deeply, hold my breath for a couple of seconds and then breathe out very slowly. It will only take a few minutes to clean up.

I finish sliding across the floor until I reach the white shag rug that is positioned under the coffee table and between the two white love seats. Laura thinks I am crazy for selecting a white shag carpet, but I remind her that she is the artist and I am the interior designer. One of her paintings hangs on the wall between the two tall windows on the wall opposite of where I stand.

It is a beautiful painting. She was inspired by the Broadway musical she saw on her trip to New York last year. It is an abstract piece with a myriad of colors. Most prominent ate the swirls of red, gold, cream, and black. There is also a lot of hills and valleys which she carefully crafted using a putty knife and thick paint. She has titled it “All That Jazz” and it is what I imagine jazz music would look like in paint media. Knowing John is a lover of jazz, I am sure he would appreciate this particular piece. When I look at it, I imagine him looking at it and smiling.

Behind the painting, the walls are painted a very soft shade of pink.

I straighten the magazines and then stack them back in the wicker basket next to the couch. I pick up the empty Starbucks cup and dessert plate and head into the kitchen. The floor plan has been opened up, but much of the woodwork and character of the building has been left intact. The kitchen itself is relatively narrow, leaving barely enough room for one person to be in it at a time. The far wall consists of dark cabinetry and appliances. The other side has cupboards, the sink, and most of the countertop space. This is the side that opens to the living room.

It is decorated sparingly in order to ensure we have access to the space available. The walls are a heavy cream color to contrast with the deep wood color of the cabinetry and floor.

Behind the coat closet is our dining area. It is also a narrow space which runs perpendicular to the kitchen. A heavy wood block table is pushed up against the wall. It is stained the color of the kitchen cabinetry. A simple three tiered glass chandelier hangs over the table, shedding light on it and the three lighter weight chairs that sit on the exposed sides of the table. This one wall is painted a sleight blue.

I throw the cup into the recycling bin under the sink and set the plate on the counter. It will need to be hand washed, but that can wait. I walk out of the kitchen and across the living room. On the other side of the living room are two bedrooms separated by a bathroom. The bedrooms are decent in size as the apartment is fairly deep. Laura’s is to the right.

I head straight to the bathroom. It is a cramped space. There is an ivory pedestal sink. Next to that is the toilet. There is a claw foot tub in our bathroom. I love the curved feet and depth of the tub. I pay extra for the privilege of having a tub. Somehow, the management company has rigged up a shower above it. I can tell it is not original, but adore the creativity behind the design. The shower head hangs from the ceiling over the middle of the tub. The walls that surround it are covered in various sizes of white ceramic tile. There is a curved shower bar running the length of the bathroom. Heavy soft green shower curtains give the bathroom a sense of luxury.

I look at the tub and consider soaking the cat off of my body, but I am too tired. I close the door and pull open a drawer on the small and ornate wardrobe, taking out a fresh washcloth and hand towel. It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture and I am careful to keep it protected from the steam. I run hot water in the sink and over the washcloth. I wash my face, slowly, assessing if I will start to cry. I dry my hands and face, then run a brush through my hair.

I look better, but the small voice is still nagging, “How can he love me?” I hang the cloths on a small brushed nickel ring and go to my room.

The moon is outside the window and shining directly on my bed. Everything is neatly put away. I collapse onto the bedspread and warp my arms around each side of the bed. I squeeze every muscle and then let my body relax. Opening my eyes, I see the carefully constructed collage of John’s best pictures and most thrilling achievements on my computer. I should check my e-mail, but I won’t. There is a notebook and sketch pad next to it. A small cup holding pens and pencils and other work related utensils sits colorfully on the corner of the small desk. I picked up the cup the first time I went to Malibu on vacation. I was hoping to see him at one of the clubs, but later learned he was in New York shooting a movie.

I turn my head and stretch my spine by extending my legs, pointing my toes, and looking down to make my neck long. My closet doors are carefully closed. The books on the bookshelf are sitting pristinely. There are other souvenirs from consequent trips to Malibu carefully displayed around the books. There is a bill from a play that John and I saw, although we weren’t sitting as close as I had hoped. There is a shot glass from one of his favorite Malibu jazz clubs. A small flower vase from a great little restaurant was smuggled out in my purse and eventually cleaned up. Other little trinkets as well. I can also see the deep blue corduroy spine of the scrapbook holding my favorite articles sits with my Romance Novels. Books on jazz and sports facts are inner mixed with my interior design books.

I look back up and see his beautiful face, lovingly framed, sitting under the lamp on my nightstand. His words and signature dance in the corner of the frame. At least I know he thought I was beautiful then.


  1. I want to add a sentence or two about the 5 small square canvases in bold colors with the texture of fingerprints running across the back wall of the kitchen under the cabinets. Another painting, larger, hangs above the dining table. Not sure how this one looks though.

    I also need to add in a TV (probably in her room) and her collection of movies/ sitcoms/ etc.

    Oh, and there is the repetitive use of the word 'carefully' and some grammar issues... especially toward the end. Maybe I can edit these things yet today.

  2. Oooh she is a fastidious kook.

    I like the apartment. I like her room.

    I am still on the hook.

  3. "The kitchen itself is relatively narrow, leaving barely enough room for one person to be in it at a time." did you mean to say "more than two people to be in it at the same time?"

    "I look at the tub and consider soaking the cat off of my body, but I am too tired. " I love this sentence!

    "My closet doors are carefully closed." What does this mean?

  4. Hi Shirin-

    I meant it was barely enough room for one person to be in it.

    Carefully closed closet had to do with it being midnight and me being tired. The word snuck in far more frequently than I would like.