The Madwoman in the Other Apartment
A notebook entry.
This essay was written as part of Project 1,825 Things.
The public garden wet and clean in the January afternoon. No leaves on the trees. The roses leggy and fruited with orange rose hips. A new apartment to visit, another one, and yet another one, that I’m unlikely to be approved for. I am not French. I’m not a citizen. I don’t have a French work contract, and renting under these circumstances is hard. All these apartments that I’ll never live in, and won’t ever see again. Imagining my life fitting in here, or here, or in this other place. The view of an air shaft. The view of a street. The view of a sky.
Yesterday the small studio for sale on the 6th floor, with floors that appeared to be parquet in photos, but in person revealed themselves to be a kind of press-on linoleum printed with a parquet pattern. A view of the gray sky. No shower, and a plastic basin left behind where I knew the previous tenant must have washed himself, as Rebecca Solnit said to me in a comment recently, like a Degas dancer. In the promotional images on the real estate agent’s website, I zoomed in and saw that a photograph had been taped to the wall, slightly askew. It showed a dark-skinned African man, smiling. When I visited the apartment with the young white agent, so young she looked 12-years-old, the photo had been removed.
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