There were children getting drunk in the square today when I came home.
There was $200 worth of cocaine sitting on the glass table that by being pawned could pay off my debt to Columbia plus a year of tuition that according to Rob, had my name on it.
There were mansions that lined the avenue I walked down to get home.
There were French doors that opened onto the boulevard on the other side of the house, near Halsted, which Kelly the Lesbian Roommate (as she introduced herself) threw open while holding a bottle of red wine and wearing a dress that made her look like Athena and when she fell down the two steps that she forgot about, the blood in her blond hair and the red wine on her white dress were so typically metaphorical I wished that I could be her, be an archetype, be that wounded and precious.
There were chaise lounges on the balcony that overlooked Broadway and a very long wooden hallway whose floors shone in the moonlight that I had to stumble down to get to it.
There was a boy crouched in the bathtub with me for whom I would do anything on the basis that he be happy for just a day.
There was a man who called himself the boss of their relationship standing in the corner of that bathroom eying me like a stain on their carpet, who thought evil things about me, who insisted that I do more of their drugs.
There was a glass of beer that I had forgotten about sitting beside me that Louis was worried I would spill that I drank in one gulp.
There was a sunrise that you can only experience from a place you could never afford to live rising outside, toward the lake.
There was blood in my nose and I kept smelling it but when I looked at myself in the mirror there was nothing there.
There were the shapes of words I had picked up in my attempt to understand the French authors I was told to love in my mouth. I kept tasting them. I kept saying them. I kept using them correctly and incorrectly and either no one cared or no one noticed or no one bothered to correct me, because really, je ne se pais, monsieur. Je m’excuse.
There were several years of higher education in several different areas of expertise between us. Not all of us had degrees. The ones that did, had Masters.
There was eight years between me and the next youngest person.
There was a tightness in my chest and behind my eyes like that of someone who knows they are lying to someone very close or have done too many drugs or both. I walked around, opening windows and closing doors. I touched panes of glass, both reflective and clear. I marveled at the white, everything this glowing white, miraculous white. I folded up the quilt they had given me to sleep in, put it in the linen closet and let myself out the front door, down the elevator, and back out into the morning that was breaking peacefully. I looked chewed up and spit out by a person with bad gums. My gums were bad. I got on a bus and went back to my poor neighborhood, my ghetto chic neighborhood, where I was more common, less novel, and there were children drinking in the square, who called me a slut as I passed them, who laughed and didn’t care that I was alone and made more money waiting tables than their parents, probably. There was a bed in my bedroom that was waiting for me, the shape of my body still in the sheets.