The dampness hangs, heavy and listless, in the air. As I move through it, I feel its slickness, gumming my hair and my oversized t-shirt, tickling my flesh. Movement is slow, after a storm. It feels as though I’m trying to breath underwater. The house is old and offers minimal protection from the elements. It lacks double-paned windows, decent weather stripping, and most of all, a dehumidifier. My stress-induced asthma doesn’t help much. I didn’t move here with the intention of fixing up the place. It merely lends itself to being an out of the way, sort of hidden, shelter.
Everything is damp, the windows are covered in condensation, the mould has commenced climbing the sides of the window panes from its usual place at the bottom. I even see it coming through the wall in places. All the linen, comforter, towels, anything that is out, is slightly wettish. The classic mildewy scent fills the air. It’s May, in Northeast, Ohio. There have been a few thunder storms lately, adding greatly, to the mugginess. “You do know how to pick em,” I say out loud to the broken, reflection in the bathroom mirror. “You’ve really outdone yourself this time.”
My funds were running short, a bus ticket and some rent money, was all I had access to on short notice. I lucked out, Wooster had a job opening for a UPS Package Handler, something I’ve done before. A bachelor’s degree in museum studies, was near completion seventeen years ago, when my good intentions strayed. The boyfriend, the charming bad boy, swept me off my feet, at a time when I longed for adventure. However, it was the third bad boy, in the series, that sent me spiralling. That seemed so long ago now. My life, along with anyone I cared about, was turned upside down two years after I broke it off with Joshua. My assumption–psychopath. So I take what I can get now, preferably behind the scenes. I’m still hopeful, that I might one day finish my degree.
The house I ended up in this time, is old, not much to look at, and located in the sketchier part of the city. This is not unusual. Minus several coats of paint, a newer stove and fridge, and I imagine a few half-assed, patch-up jobs to the outside, was all that this house had seen in lots of years. Rent was cheap, it was furnished, sort of, and I was in need. The first thing I do, is put in a security system. Not just any security system. I consider myself a DIY artist, after years of practice. No one is getting in easily, and not without my knowledge.
A quick shower, a semi-dry towelling off, and I pull my hair back into a ponytail. Dressing in the lovely shade of brown, that is the uniform, I’m off to work. Since I don’t own a vehicle, I’m grateful for the short fifteen minute walk. “Hey Bruce!” I said as I walked through the office door.
“Good morning to you Silvie!” He greets me with a big grin and a wink. “How are you this wet morning?” He is such a nice, happy, man. I do find solace in the people I’ve met over the years. Those people who work behind the scenes, keep life moving forward for everyone else, my temporary families. I flash my best, teethy grin at him, followed by a long, eye-roll. “There is an envelope for you Silvie. Just got through the last bag. It’s over there on the desk,” He points to it without looking up from his task.
“Thanks Bruce.” My heart beats faster, my breath shortens, and I can feel the perspiration sliding over my lip. My back to Bruce, I turn the envelope over and over in my hands.
© Gerri Leathley 2014
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