Goethe’s Apartment (i)

Posted on July 3, 2009


I AM DRUNK and there is a knock at the door. It is a soft knocking, evenly rapped and well placed upon the wood of my door. I stand up, my mouth open. I have not been in the house alone for quite some time. I am not used to receiving visitors.

I hop over a pile of old magazines and stumble toward the door. The knocking stops and for a brief moment I wonder if the visitor has left. I cannot tell you how, but I can hear the person’s breaths from the other side of the door. The lungs are small and breaths short. They are nervous breaths.

I open the door without bracing myself and in that moment of vulnerability fall madly in love with the girl standing atop my coir rope Welcome mat.

I start to make a thousand small adjustments to my person, both externally and internally. I straighten my hair, once-over my teeth with my tongue and silently tell myself to keep it cool.

I know that I am in love- transformed without explanation like Kafka’s Gregor. It is not her hair or her body, it is not her smile, her scent or her posture. It has nothing to to with her at all, the love just always seems to have been…it is ontological. It is causeless.

“Good day,” I say and feel like a cursed moron. Did my voice squeak? Did she smell my breath?

“Is Balthus here? Balthus the artist?” she asks.

Balthus, the name is putrid, like evil crawling out of her soft, elegant lips. Balthus is my roommate, friend and bitter rival. Were I given the grace to strike one man solid dead, it would be the person of dear Balthus.

“Balthus is not home,” I say. “He should be back any time though.” It is a terrible lie and I feel terrible for telling it to my beloved. Balthus is away for three days, off to exhibit some tediously boring painting of his sister on a rocking horse.

“Oh, alright. Do you mind if I wait for him?” the girl asks.

I am delighted and I wave her in. She looks at me wide eyed and steps in. The house is a filthy mess and I have been a poor keeper since Balthus and Hadyn left me to tend. All about I see my filth: half-empty yogurt cups, piles of scrap paper, wine glasses, joint roaches and coins. Everything is everywhere.

I brush off a seat for the girl and ask her if she wants a drink. She declines the drink but takes particular interest in a piece of paper sitting on the coffee table. I look over her anxiously, my lips wet with desire; my tongue secretly escaping the cave of my mouth. When she looks up at me I snap back to civility and tighten my jaw.

“Did you write this?” she asks.

“It is a short piece I am working on,” I say.

“About the devil?”

“Well it is more about man than the devil, but yes.”

“Interesting,” she says. Her eyes linger on the page a bit longer and then she looks up to me.

(Part 2 to be published on Independence Day)

Posted in: July 2009