58 :: another person's life :: 7/20/01
So, yeah, this is the place.
Denise is being shown an apartment. She's already looked at two but this one is a little bit quirky in a way that she likes. Old quirky. The windows in the living room, with their heavy molding, seem vaguely like they're the wrong sizethey're too near the floorit is sort of as if they developed independently of the room. She doesn't mind that. It strikes her as organic.
You can see, there's a closet here, it's pretty big, it can store a pretty good amount of stuff.
Mm, Denise says.
She is trying to envision where she place her things into this apartment, if it were hers. But she's distracted. The woman who is showing her the apartmentJaneis clearly also the current occupant: the apartment is still very much being used as a living space. (It becomes available September 1st.) Denise finds herself investigating the way that Jane lives; assessing whether she would like her if she knew her better. She's taking the opportunity to see into another person's life. A big poster on one wall reads: Convergence Against Capitalism! With a picture of a fairy princess grinning impishly and holding a monkey wrench. Denise looks at Jane, tries to imagine whether she imagines herself as the princess in the poster. She is wearing a loose-fitting white tank top and jeans; she has a tiny tattoo of a toothed gear on her shoulder.
So, anyway, here's the bedroom.
The place is pretty tiny; one small living room, a kitchen which is essentially in an alcove, and now this small bedroom. But Denise doesn't have a whole lot of stuff: it wasn't that long ago that she was living in a dorm. On the table near the bed are a half-dozen candles and a book called Questions and Swords, with an oil painting of a human figure on the cover. On the wall hangs an enormous batch of some herb, dried and bundled. A batik-print cloth, electric-blue, is draped over the window.
I really like this place, says Jane. I'm almost sad that I have to leave.
Where are you going? asks Denise.
Mexico, says Jane. I'm actually breaking the lease. But the landlord's been pretty cool about it. She's pretty great, actually, really responsive to any problems that you might have. She'll reimburse you for any work you do around the place.
Mexico? thinks Denise. She wants to ask why, but doesn't. Jane kind of shrugs, winds a finger through a curl of her hair.
I could live here, Denise thinks. She still hasn't mentally overlapped her belongings and these rooms, but now she feels she does not need to, because she can see herself in these rooms as they are now, with these candles and posters and books, this precarious stack of CDs, this sequence of photos taped up by the light switch, this postcard of a chili-ringed Virgin Mary tacked up over the bed. She can see herself with this life. And if the person with this life, Jane, could live here, than Denise feels certain that she could too.