As I am single and my roommate is away for the summer, I have taken on a lifestyle similar to a buzzard’s.
I inhabit a cave on the fourth story of my building, but as it is too hot to live in I spend my days shuffling back and forth on my roof, looking out over the cliffs.
When I am hungry and there is nothing to eat inside, I swoop down, so to speak, and pick up a slice of pizza or a sandwich to bring back to the lair.
The bathtub tap has leaked a steady stream for two months now. The water leaves a rust colored stain in its path; a pink mold grows near it. As there are no more clean cups in my apartment, sometimes for water I will suck on the faucet like a wolf’s teat.
I am not exactly alone up here. The new condos next door all have south-facing balconies. I saw a new, multi-racial family with a baby play there once. The child is adorable. It was allowed to play on the balcony only after its mother tested the strength of the banister.
Across the street and down a door or two is another four story apartment building like mine. They sit in groups over there.
Last Friday there was a storm that rolled slowly east over the Hudson. From my roof I could watch the heavy clouds defy the sunset pinks and blues and rather seethe with hot lights from Manhattan. It answered with lightning, often trapped in its own folds but sometimes plummeting radiantly.
Across the street the crowd gathered on the other roof would cheer. In truth it mattered to none of us what had absorbed the shock. The clouds were still far away, though approaching.
Twice that evening I encountered others directly. First, a young woman came up the stairs and saw me sucking on a pig’s tail on the north side of the roof. She went to the south side and sat in silence.
A second female arrived after I had found another chair and repositioned myself to get a better view around the buildings to our north. She sat down at the table I had sat at to dine.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hello, caw,” I said.
We watched the storm some together.
“Too bad those buildings are in the way, ” she said.
“Caw caw caw,” I said. “Caw caw caw caw.”
Sometimes I rummage through the bones and shiny things in my bedroom and find tokens of long ago, like times when I was in a tribe of some kind, or in love. I look at damp photographs. Back at me smiles someone wearing clothes. Sometimes others are with him.
Though I have an appetite for pictures like these, I cannot actually eat them. Wiser now, I know what is important and to not worry about life’s little details, like whether the mice are cooked.