There’s a cup of instant coffee on the faded pine table, and a pack of Skyflakes, unsealed. Outside the flickering street lights shine in lieu of stars obscured by high-rises, smog, and rain; of artfully placed floor lamps; of tinsel glinting under fluorescent bulbs. The new tenant sits cross-legged on a woven mat on the burnished mahogany floor, her back against the wall. The laptop on the sofa bed beside her illuminates her face in the darkness of her studio apartment as she types an allusive essay. The spare furniture laid out, the luggage and groceries unpacked, the clothes folded and hung—the days grind on, a week’s come and gone. The tenant sits up, reaches for the Skyflakes, dips a cracker into her coffee. She smiles a wee smile.
Well, then. Welcome to her new home. This time, it’s “real.”