Ben Spivey

How in our mid-twenties we rented an apartment. How whenever we ran water it smelt burnt. How everything we owned smelled like smoke. How we could hear the man in the room above us urinate at 5:30 PM every day. How, at the time, I hadn't smoked in eight-months. My wife (we hadn't married yet. That happened three years later) never started. But our neighbor's smoke seeped. They tapped their ceiling. They spun their loose ceiling-fans. Sounds cranked at our floor and walls. Their voices pierced all barriers. The place was affordable. We kept the television out of site. People stood outside the door at four AM. I made sure it was dark enough for sleep (the city lights shown and slipped in anyway they could) and we stepped light enough to avoid complaints.


I would look through the peephole before my wife would get home and after she'd fall asleep. I'd watch people come and go. Stand and talk. One night a number of people stood there outside of the door. I could only see their backs. I could only hear their whispers. They never turned around and stood there for an hour in shadowed blurs.
How it seemed one day I slept and woke again married and older.