Friday, January 8, 2010

My crack-daddy neighbor is moving out this week. No, no, not the sex couple (who would not meet my eyes at the Publix the other day, do they read my blog? Do they know my name? Have I been walking around in my altogether too much?) who live across the courtyard. This is the person who lives right across the hall, my closest neighbor who has been there for years. When I moved in the apartment manager warned me about him, saying that he was an alcoholic but a harmless one, and may sometimes park halfway over in my spot. This is all true. Sometimes he does park halfway over in my spot, but I'm just glad he made it home.
Melvin's (not his real name) apartment is a bachelor pad de-lux. There are velvet paintings of black panthers and leopards on the walls and heavy dark blue and maroon rugs stapled to the hardwood floors. Ashtrays shaped like wild psychedelic glass vaginas share space on small rickety tables with lamps filled with shells and scented candles half burned down and blown out. One time he invited me over to see a painting a woman he knew had just given to him. It was in the bedroom, hanging next to his bed, and showed the headless (I imagine this is more from the limitations of the painter rather than a stylistic choice) intertwined bodies of a man and a woman floating in a green and red (bed? sky? Christmas sex cloud?) background. The man, he pointed out, was him. He was quite flattered and pleased. And what man wouldn't be? The painter may have had no talent for hands, head, or feet, but she had a fine and clear memory for cock.
Melvin is somewhat of an ambassador of the apartment complex, he has a wonky-eyed charisma and an easy laugh that has made him an acquaintance, if not a friend of all who live here. I have only met a handful of my neighbors but Melvin knows each and every one. Somehow he is harmless, even when he knocked on my door one day, a pair of my panties pressed tight to his face and making noises of pleasure, I knew that he was simply returning something I dropped in the laundry shack and not being stalkerish or creepy. This is his gift.
For a while he had his sister living with him. They seemed to do fine for a while until he brought a lady home. The lady was bottle blond and had a hard life living in her face, but her eyes were freaky blue and I could see the beauty she had been. She wore clothes better suited to a college girl with loose morals and looked like the entire town of Panama City, FL wrapped up in one tired body. She and the sister did not get along. They all drank, they all fought, sometimes the cops were called. Melvin seemed bewildered and frustrated at his lot in life and I could tell he was not a man who enjoys having two bickering women living under his roof, upsetting the peace and strewing their flea market potpourri around his living room.
The sister left in the night, knocking on my door one final time and having a talk with me in the hallway. She was drunk out of her mind and her body had loosened to a point where it appeared she had no bones and her face moved in such a way that it seemed she had mice roiling around under her skin. She talked on and on about how she was worried about Melvin, how he could get in trouble, how this woman would bring him down, and how now that their mom had passed she (the sister) was all he has. She clutched at my arms and begged me to keep an eye on him. She insinuated that something sinister beyond my imagination (because I am a good girl) was going on over there. I didn't like the feel of her hands, it felt like something sinister was going on in her body, and I kept carefully taking them off of me and placing them on her own shoulders, her arms crossed so that she could hold herself in and not go spilling out onto the floor. I told her that it was none of my business, and wished her well.
Melvin kicked out his blue-eyed girl a few weeks later after her mom and daughter moved in. I suppose he realized that was not an improvement. I was not sad to see them go, they were always stealing my mop bucket.
But now Melvin is moving out, the cold has driven him away. Our apartments do not have central heating, they have giant crackling radiators that are our responsibility to light. I had to have my Superman Brother-In-Law come help me with mine as it is tricky and scary and really a two man job. I tried to help Melvin with his, but no matter which of the two tasks I gave him he just couldn't get it and I left him there in the cold. I felt bad about that, but he's lived here longer than I have and I thought for sure one of his friends could come do what I could not, but next thing I know he's signed a lease for a one bedroom in a newer complex, one in which the heat is central and the utilities are included. Melvin is not a man who needs to be playing with fire, and I believe he knows his limitations.
He will be fine. He'll move his portrait and his velvets, he'll tear the rugs from the floors (or not) and cart the ashtrays and the lamps and the coasters and recliners and framed pictures of his mama and President Obama across town and crank that heat. He'll sit back in his leather chair with his radio on in nothing but a tank top and tube socks, light a joint and raise a glass of amber oblivion, and laugh that crazy rooster cackle at his supreme good fortune, at his new bachelor pad deluxe. And I know, because he told me, that he will revel in the fact that it is only a ONE bedroom, and there is not space enough for any sisters, mothers, or daughters to move in. I'm sorry Baby, he'll say, this is our love nest. Your moms has got to go.
Here's to you, Melvin. You will be missed.


Bethany said...

oh my gosh, you are HILARIOUS, and such an amazing writer. Practically every other line blew me away. Metaphors that made me SEE people in just the right way. Wow. And does it just roll right off of your fingers like that? It would take me weeks to write such a post with the flow and funny and description like you. Wow.

Ms. Moon said...

May. I'm sorry but I just have to say I think you may be the best writer in the entire blogworld. I'm not kidding you. Look at me. I'm standing here with one hand on my hip and a finger pointed in your face saying, "Child! You don't stop! You keep going! You do what you need to do because YOU can support yourself with your words. I know it!"
Besides, I know this gives you deep pleasure and selfishly, it makes me want to weep with the pleasure I get.
I'll stop.
I love you. And somehow, even I will miss Melvin.

Mel said...

I know it's all true because you just can't make this shit up. What an amazing piece of writing and I'm not conceited or anything but I read a LOT and you have both the vision and the voice. Keep on doing it and letting us see, please? Thank you.

May said...

Bethany- Really, you are too kind. It's just the way my brain talks, and whenever I think maybe I can write I read something by someone who really can and I despair! Oh! The agony! But thank you anyway, you made my day.

MamaMs.Moon- I see you standing there with your hand on your hip like a little tea pot! Don't point your spout at me, Ms. Mommy Moon! If I was as prolific as you, maybe I could support myself writing, but I just don't write enough. Maybe that will be my resolution- write more. Hmmm. Maybe.
Anyway, I love you to pieces.

May said...

Mel- Thank you! Your comment makes me feel good because one of the reasons I don't write much is that I don't think that I have anything of interest to write about. My life is so mundane. But maybe mundane is okay. Anyway, thank you for stopping by and your sweet words.

Steph(anie) said...

A former boss told me there are no boring subjects, only boring writers.

You, my dear, are NOT a boring writer.

Mwa said...

I'm in awe of you. Wow. And you had me laughing for ages at the "fine and clear memory for cock."

Kori said...

It had to have been a Christmas Sex Cloud. Really.

And hey, keep writing; you are excellent. I do the same thing, though-I read something like this, or some of the things your mama (NOT, you understand, yo' mama) and cry because I suck ass.

Glimmer said...

Oh. My. God. You are a fantastic writer. You drew me in and I did not want it to end. You know what this reminds me of? Those stories about real places and things Esquire used to do, which would get made into movies. Like "Urban Cowboy," which started out as one of those.

Keep at it. Please. You are wonderful. You have much to say.

Petit fleur said...

I'm sure if Melvin stumbled about the blog world, he would be so tickled and pleased to have such a sweet send off post.

I hope you keep writing and writing and writing. Don't compare yourself to others, just do what you do. You are the only one who can, and as you can tell, there are many many many of us who dig it. A lot. And I am certain that with exposure there would be zillions more of us.

Loved the Christmas sex cloud too. So funny! Love you, pf

May said...

Steph- You know what Steph? You're right, thanks for reminding me. Maybe I need that on a magnet, hmm? I do have a Chinese fortune taped up next to my desk that says "You have a clever way with words and should write a book." So much better than "Your appreciation for others will be your path to success!"

Mwa- Thank you! The cock was impressive. I don't think I could paint one from memory with such detail. He was so proud, it was pretty cute.

Kori- You do not suck ass! But yeah, that's how I feel generally. I think it's so brave of everyone to post so often. I'm intimidated by all of you. Aaaaand, you can talk about my Mama anytime you want. She's pretty incredible. But then, so are you.

Glimmer- I had no idea that Urban Cowboy started out as a story in Esquire. I LOVE Esquire! You learn something new everyday. Thank you for reading and commenting! It makes me feel so good.

Petit Fleur- Sweet Little Flower! I don't know how Melvin would take this post! He is so funny! It's going to be odd to have someone else living there. Maybe I'll write about them, heh heh.
I love you, and I take your words to heart.

Jo said...

Beautiful writing and post! Oh My God!

Dammit, I may have to give you Danielle!

I want a glass vagina ashtray!

May said...

Jo- I am so honored you stopped by. If I had a vagina ashtray I would send it to you. Maybe Melvin will leave one behind (he has three) and if so I will mail it straight out. They are rather lovely.

Ms. Moon said...

I just want to say I've been reading Esquire for years because of the great writing in it and yes, May, you are as good as anything in there.
Honest to God.

Steph(anie) said...

Fortunes aren't what they used to be :)

downtown guy said...

How much is your rent, again?

Elizabeth said...

I'll add my little old voice to the rest, extolling your writing. I know you're young and don't have your confidence chops, yet, though, but I'm shouting to you that you need to go, go, go, go. Start with these little character essays and keep going. Pick someone else and write about him. And then pick someone else and write about her. Just keep doing it. And thank you for sharing it with us, too!

michelle said...

You are a great story teller. Write what you know. It's always an awesome read.

Anonymous said...

May, so awesome. Grace is how we treat the melvins out there.

Let me know if there's a curb alert for any of those wall hangings.