I knocked on the door and after waiting out for a while I heard the bolt turn twice. There she was, scruffy and natural. She was alone and so she let me in. “I’m doing laundry in the bathroom but, if you like you can wait, seat on the bed,” she said.
I nodded, “cool,” I said, and then headed straight to the balcony.
The view was nice and cool breeze bashed against my hairy face, (since I began an early no shave November campaign for male breast cancer awareness), it was soothing. I saw hills and houses on it with bright white lights, like little eyes in the far distances. When God sculpted the peaks of The Gold Coast he took his time, like Hollywood, but without the sins and transgressions. Birds hovered, hawks black as night swayed in the sky to the push of the wind. When you lock your fingers do big birds really feel the gear lock? I doubted that. But I was a curious cat and decided to try the childhood trick. I interlocked my fingers and pointed at the hawks but they wouldn’t budge, then I put my hand down before she came and thought me to be a simpleton. I cast my gaze below and saw house finches, red-bellied and chirping, who feeds them? I wondered as I lit a wiggly cigarette I had hidden behind my ear.
My thoughts were distracted when I heard a door shut; I knew she was done with laundry and went out to air her dirty linens. Not too long after, she was back again. I heard footsteps around the room and then I heard another door shut. Afterwards, water splashed about and body wiggled. The bath she took happened quickly, in no time she was out. I heard slow footsteps around the room, the wardrobe door creaked open and clothes squelched out of piles. A brief silence followed and then, quickly, I heard the squish of skin rubbed together like the passing sound of a wishing star. Her thighs, I guessed. I heard air being sucked in, a zip and a whoosh.
“What have you been doing?” She asked, abruptly, as she took a seat and sat beside me. She wore the same clothes she wore when I came in, a red bum short and a white spaghetti top. She was without a bra. Water dripped from her hair as she busied herself with hitting the bud of a cigarette on her chair handle. “Match?” she said, and then I passed the lighter to her. “Tell me everything you have been thinking about since you came in here.”
I showed her two pieces of paper I scribbled random thoughts on, “Not so much,” I said. She chuckled and squinted “You have very matured handwriting; I can tell it’s in a haste to get things out,”
“I think I took my mother’s handwriting,”
“Is your mother a doctor?”
“That is the kindest way anyone has ever said my handwriting is shit, thanks,” I laughed, folded the pieces of paper and stuck it in my pocket. She smiled and said nothing.
We smoked in comfortable silence, only passing the lighter between ourselves. When she looked away I stared at her tattoos, black ink on black skin. On her, right shoulder was a rose and beneath it “survival” was written in cursive. Beside the roses were the infinity sign and two names written in cursive, “Nicki” and “Family”.
“Who is Nicki?” I asked.
“She is someone I love very much, she is family,”
“Is she your sister?”
“She was more than a sister and more than a friend,”
“Is Nicki dead?”
She laughed and dragged the butt of her cigarette and inhaled deeply, she sighed instead of exhaling and then took another drag which she exhaled. “Let’s not talk about her anymore.”
“Sometimes I feel really anxious and depressed, about nothing, I get this feeling in my stomach like it’s closing up and then I can’t breathe,”
“I don’t know why it just comes when I look forward to something, it comes with my art, I never feel it’s finished, or good enough,”
“But is it finished when you say it’s finished, and then before you send it out do you consider it good enough?”
“Yes or no”
“Yes,” I said, and then smiled. It made sense, even though I knew it to be something I couldn’t help.
“Then it’s finished, just take a deep breath and wait for feedback, eat, create more since art is your escape, talk to people who you know will help, if that helps.”
I checked the time on my phone; I had been there for three hours and suddenly it was nightfall and cold winds.
I wore a tank top and black jeans proposed by the afternoon weather and night time sent chills up my spine for it. I returned back into the room and sat on the bed. I thought to leave but then she got up from her chair and walked to where her wardrobe was. She put on a hoodie and then she sauntered over and joined me in bed. “When is Jay returning?” I asked. Jay was her neighbour and my friend, it was him I paid a visit but he was absent and so I thought to wait with the girl next door. “I don’t think he will be returning today when he left I teased him about not returning because of the way he packed,” she said.
I called Jay and he said he was with his girlfriend, Irene, somewhere not so far from where he lived. I teased him about being a married man and we laughed it off. I told him I came to visit with his pen drive I borrowed and also lubricants for his social life, but for some reasons unknown to me I didn’t tell him I was with his neighbour. “Come around tomorrow, or next, just call me, sha,” he said, and then I hung up.
“Jay won’t be back today,” I said. I got up from the bed and adjusted my clothes, “I think I will be on my way now.”
“I will walk you down the road, I really have nothing doing,” she said.