Wendy was in her car driving down the familiar gheto ass road through her gheto ass town to her gheto ass apartment. She didn’t actually think that way herself. She liked her apartment. She felt proud to have something of her own. People always talked poorly of the run down area though. She had to walk her Close friend Jane to her car everytime she came to visit. Jane was always too nervous of the poor area to walk across the street alone. The rest of her friends and family just avoided visiting all together. Wendy didn’t mind this, it made her apartment feel like its own little island.

She took this same route every night at around 11pm. Every night she was driving in her fancy orange car, Tool cd blaring, wondering to herself, “is this the night I get shot?” There was an article in the local journal just that morning about a shooting a block over from the road she took. Tonight she thought about that article and had a slight pang of sadness that she wasn’t there. She wondered how things would change if she got shot on her way home from work. There was really never a fear as much as there was the tiniest bit of wishful thinking.

She’d turn the unlit corner into the raised up CVS parking lot, across the street from the boarded up abandoned card shop above which her apartment existed. She’d park her car, gather her things into her left arm, hold her house key and her cell phone in her right. She would use her left pinky to open her door handle, slide the door open with her left foot, climb her way out of the barely off the ground at all car, hit the lock button with her right pinky, stand her six foot tall sexy ass up, kick the door closed with her right foot, and think to herself, “is this the night I get raped?”

Actually, Wendy didn’t really think of herself as sexy. Tall and lanky maybe. Skinny and awkward, sure. Never sexy. She really didn’t feel too nervous in her area. It was more everyone else’s fear for her that she thought about. Every one seemed so shocked and scared when she told them where she lived. It was like they pitied her. There was really nothing to pity though. Wendy lived here because it was what she could afford, and her landlord was ok with her Beagle’s existence.

She’d walk down the little hill to the street, look across all the unlit streets around her, wondering if anyone was lurking, walking across the street to the hole off the street, unlocking the door to the steps that lead to the upstair where her studio apartment resides.

She really never worried about being rapped or mugged while walking up to her apartment. She got a sort of adrenaline rush regardless. Much the same feeling that she gets at the sound of storm sirens. She’s never actually afraid that a storm will come. Just excited at the idea that it might. Hopefull even.

She’d unlock the door and make the twenty-seven narrow stepped climb to the landing, at witch were two doors. One to the left, and one to the right, with a five foot wall between the two of them. The width of the narrow stairwell. Her drug dealing neighbor’s door was to the left, her door was on the right. She always unlocked her door with her left shoulder to the door, peering over her right shoulder to the door on the left, eyes fixed, praying to God that it didn’t open before she could get hers opened.

She really wasn’t even sure that a drug dealer resided at that apartment. John and Randy just declared that there was the day they helped her move in. Their jokes about her crack headed neighbor just stuck with her. She also enjoyed the attention whenever she would tell people that. It was sort of fascinating that people were so sheltered they assumed anyone living in that area must be a drug dealer. The had no problem believing it, and their eyes would always light up with fear for her. Wendy always found it interesting that poor areas always equaled gheto and drugs, and skinny white girls did not belong there.

She was still thankful everytime she avoided an encounter with the neighbor she had never met. Every time, stepping inside, shutting her door, locking the deadbolt, sitting down on the twin bed that resides in the living room/kitchen that is the majority of her tiny hobbit worthy apartment, breathing a sigh of relief at evading gunshots and rape this fine evening. She’d think to herself, “What another boring night.

She’d always make her way into the forty-five degree angled ceilinged bathroom. The ceiling slanted in a way, leading to a three foot wall space in which the toilet was positioned, that you literally had to crab walk to pee. If a guy used her restroom he had to literally bend over to pee. You would get back cramps and spams if you took too long of a shit. She had to kneel in the shower. Overall the bathroom was really quite hysterical.

John and Randy had a great time making fun of this as well. They really just made fun of the whole place. She couldn’t be angry with them because they really did not have to help her. However she thought it rather ignorant to make fun of someones new home when you live with your parents. Although, seeing as how she was twenty-five, this was a bit of a step down from what she had hoped to have. That’s what happens though when you perpetually start over.

Regardless of the hobbit jokes and her self-consciousness, the bathroom was funny. She’d chuckle to herself every time she’d look at it. She’d walk through the five foot door way with her six foot self, she’d look into the mirror , and she’d admire herself, she’d be disgusted with herself, she’d critique herself. Finally, she would just stare. She would stare deep into her own eyes. At this point, Wendy would always ask herself, “how the hell did I get here?”

She knew exactly how she got there. She had left her fiancé and moved back home with her parents. She stayed with them for a while, saving money and trying to live life. Things got very strained when she came back from visiting Fresno though. Her brother had moved back home as well with his wife and baby. It was just simply time for her to move on, so thats exactly what she did.

She spent two weeks looking through the classifieds at work. Wendy was on a hunt for something around four hundred dollars, and willing to house her and her beagle. She didn’t care about the area, or even really the way that the place looked. She stumbled across a number for a guy with a few properties in Kankakee. The hobbit home she chose for it’s lamenent flooring, and main street location. Even though she wasn’t terribly afraid of the dangerous area, it was a bit of a comfort to know she would be on a main street. The floors were also a perk for her dog. Much easier to keep clean than carpet. Wendy always was disgusted by the idea of carpet.

image -Laura Elizabeth 072017

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