Above the entranceway of my apartment building, in script handwriting, are the words Meridian Hall. These words are printed on a mauve and circular umbrella that juts outward just above the glass entrance, inside of which lay some gray steps ascending. The umbrella gives us some measure of protection from the sun and rain, and, in some sense, I also consider it a small monument to the quotidian. For it is not a very different entrance from any of the others that line my street. But the building itself is imposing compared to the brownstones flanking it on either side. It takes up an entire corner: hivelike, yellow, and sick. I never use the front entranceway because I never want to be seen. I ascend the steps to my apartment from the side which contains within it a narrow, outside corridor that opens up again into a wider space.
At the end of the corridor there are two steps to walk down. The wider space is bowl-shaped, and it gives me the feeling that I have stepped into the basin of some concrete garden. Immediately, I am confronted with gum, glass bottles, and flits of paper. There I hear gas ovens cooking, and Spanish voices. There, the walls are covered in ash and the soot from past fires. I always sit down on the upper part of the two steps to admire the fire escape which looks like a railroad track heading for the moon. It is painted a mottled brown and is designed with the intricate curls of Victorian flowers. To be exact, they are the kind of curls you’d find on a paper napkin. I have yet to see anyone test its stability, since, in tumultuous weather, sometimes the strips of paint peel, and paint chips fall down. And when one looks up, one cannot escape the distinct feeling that the building stretches all the way to the sky, and God peers down.
Today, the rain descends in silver, sharp-edged swords.