Dating : Apartment 12

h2>Dating : Apartment 12

Shontel Anestasia ♐

Yesterday was no different than any other night. I left work around 7 pm and I rode the 6 train home versus the express because I wanted a seat so I could relax. I walked up the slope of East 99th street and arrived at my building. I finally reached the 3rd floor and saw my landlord leaning over the railing, I pulled my last foot off the step and I saw police at my door. I asked what happened and they replied with their silence. I asked again and my super Steve replies “I’ll tell you later”. I peek my head past the officers and I see my neighbor’s door is cracked open. “Is he ok?” I asked Steve. “I’ll tell you later” he repeats.

I slowly walked to my door, passing a small empty kennel with a police report laying on top of it. Confused, I listened for Charlie and I couldn’t hear anything but his AC and the cops walkies talkie going off. I looked back at Steve and the Cop and they refused to make eye contact.

Charles was my favorite neighbor, he lived right across from me in Apartment 12. We exchanged words on passing and I brought up all his packages the past year and occasionally he would leave gifts at my doors like paper towels and Champion tee shirts. My other neighbor and I would joke that he worked at a strip club because he would return home at 7 am in the morning and leave at riding off at dawn on a motorcycle. Charlie had a crazy cat similar to my work dog CoCo and of course, I liked him — -because I love crazy.

I put down my bag and hopped in the shower. I could not take my mind off what the fuck was going on in that apartment. I thought…was there a fight, did the cat get stuck. I poured myself a glass of sauvignon blanc and I paced in my kitchen listening to the walkie talkies go off but his door was still closed. I couldn’t take it anymore and I put on any shoes I can find and ran downstairs. I knocked on my supers door demanding to know what was going on…..

Charlie liked to sing opera in his apartment and he wasn’t great at it. I remember grabbing my other neighbor and we laughed outside the door but the amount of joy Charlie was portraying at that very point and time made me so damn happy. Charlie and I actually become friends because one night 2 years ago while I was watching TV, I heard him coughing and it sounded like he was choking. It wouldn’t stop, I banged on his door and no one came. I thought to call the cops but I was scared I could be overreacting. I wrote a note in big letters “ARE YOU OKAY? PLEASE RETURN” and slid it under his door. He didn’t return the paper until hours later and he replied he was fine. Within the week, we ran into each other as I was coming home and he explained he had a health issue. I recommended an air purifier and he actually got it. My building was built in the 1910s and it has never been renovated. Stepping into my building you enter the twilight zone and I think it’s pretty rad besides the endless dust.

My super took a sigh and leaned on his door telling me what happened. I was in disbelief. I walked back upstairs slowly, I saw more cops pull up to our building and I noticed both entrance doors were propped open. I reached the 3rd floor and took a left and went inside my apartment and shut the door. I heard so many footsteps coming up, walkie talkies and metal clinging against the wall. I peered out my peephole and a man in an all white plastic suit head to toe came into my peripheral, followed by 4 cops with one animal control pole. The door opened and Charlie was laying on the ground……. Dead.

I came into work today out of it. My chest hurt and I just kept eating to comfort myself. Charlie was not an old man but nor was he young. He danced between 48 and 59 years old. It took the cops about an hour to capture the cat, the cat knew me but because it was considered a crime scene I had to stay inside. I sat in my living room in silence and I could hear all the activity behind me through the wall. They must have taken over 50 photos and the irony of the situation is that this is what I went to school for, to solve murders. I sat at my desk today typing and all I could see is him laying there lifeless. I found out this morning that Charlie recently passed a nursing test and he actually was working in a hospital. He was excited and now I understood why he was singing only a few week ago. Charlie was dead for about a week. He missed his shifts at work so they called his sister who then contacted my super. For a week, I walked past his door unaware of his state. His AC and air purifier were running when they found him so that’s why there was no smell. I spent the entire weekend home and I had no clue he was there alone going riding past rigor mortis and into livor mortis.

I strive to turn every event in my life positive. I wanted to really tell someone what happened last night but I don’t think anyone would have believed me, so today I walked within my thoughts. They wouldn’t have believed that I’m living next to a potential homicide and the victim is my friend. I get so upset when I’m projected on and Charlie showed me a mirror. I joked that Charlie was a stripclub bouncer and I even pictured it too. In reality, Charlie worked at his lucrative job at the hospital and was about to make even more money. He’s been living in that same apartment for 25 years and the last 3 he was showed me myself. I won’t ever forget Charlie and I honestly don’t want another neighbor. I won’t bring up their packages and I probably won’t engage with them. Charlie left me with one more gift before he died and that was perspective.

I love you Charlie…RIP

-Puma ❤

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