from afar, we keep up with the other people who live in our apartment building: alex lives across the hall. he orders a lot of chinese food. the guy above us, always wearing a wife beater, has lived in the building for most of his life. we’ve unofficially named him ‘that guy that looks like ludacris.’ our favorite neighbor is rosa, a sixty-something woman who also has mysteriously been delegated hall-sweeping responsibilities. rosa loves michael and is impartial about me. we speculate about her life: what does she do all day? what does she eat for breakfast? lately, these conversations have been dominated by the recent visit of her transient ex-husband luis, of whom we know nothing, and is reluctant to offer us any insight.
every night luis stands on the porch, drinking a forty from a paper bag and smoking cigarettes. we smell the smoke in our apartment, like he’s blowing it right in our window. ‘he’s at it again,’ we say. ‘we should really tell him to stop that. right now. we should go outside right now.’ but we’re already in our pajamas and i’m drinking a glass of milk and the wall between the inside and the outside just seems so thick.