i live directly across the street from an empty apartment. i didn’t realize this at first but after awhile i began to notice that the curtains were always drawn to a certain width, never more and never less. i copped onto it fully when my brain’s wheedling compulsion for symmetry took hold. my imagination latched onto the fact that the gap was perhaps 18 inches to the left and 24 to the right of the latch of the sliding door. What was more practically important was that unless that person was oblivious to the blistering rays of the afternoon sun, or the obnoxious orange glare of the streetlights, surely those curtains would be closed from time to time. i had found myself curiously fascinated about what was clearly an empty room, but there were days when i was trapped on my sofa that this fiction i created around this static space became my saving grace.
soon i began to weave a variety of stories about why the apartment had been vacant so long, with the mundane being temporarily trumped for the horrific when someone mentioned (as a passing joke, i’m sure) that a murder had occurred in the suite. i even did a non-committal google search to satisfy this curiosity, but this explanation seemed too easy. another more fantastic notion my mind floated was that a person lived there but never came out of the bedroom. there had to be some reason and there wasn’t a day when I haven’t looked at that void and idly wondered.
just recently the configuration changed. i noticed a shape that hadn’t been there before. it wasn’t a shape that moved, so i knew it wasn’t a person, but a looming chunk of something had been moved into my theatre and it startled me. i wanted to know why it suddenly was that the appliances were being moved. surely the space had been sitting at the ready for those months and not left unpainted and uncleaned in the interim?
this morning the sliding door is thrown open wide and the curtains gone altogether, and it’s a stolid white stove that sits in the gap of the door. somehow i am disappointed at this development. as unsettling as i began to find the curious view i know it will soon be gone. all i will see is sterile white curtains closed tightly against the sun and prying eyes and this saddens me.