Shadows fill the courtyard where Suzy waits. She has no business out there, and is unhappy with the cold stone slab that is currently leeching the heat from the seat of her pants. She uncrosses, then recrosses her stiffening legs. She should have heard the scrape and scuff of Jeff’s hard-soled office shoes against the paving stones a good hour ago. Has her neighbor met with some tragic accident? Suzy glances at the super’s office, which is dark and silent. She fears the super and Jeff may be sharing a drink down the road.
The super has it in for Suzy. She’s not sure
when his antipathy began, but all signs point to Jeff’s arrival in the
building. Old Miss Harris died, Jeff moved in, and a malaise seemed to seep through
the door jambs and infect the goodwill of all the residents. Even the academic
couple –the Deerfields on the top floor- have withdrawn from Suzy. She can feel
them watching her now from their kitchen window as they peel potatoes and speak
in low voices. Below them, Hambone Johnson sits in his threadbare bathrobe
counting coins, or screws, or nuts. The window is dark in Davy Hanson’s
apartment, and the hi-fi is silent. Maybe he’s out with the super and Jeff,
buying a round of beers for a bunch of college girls.
Suzy uncrosses her legs. She will have to get
up now, despite the sneer of victory that will crawl across the face looking
out from behind the frilly yellow curtains. Mrs. Deerfield will let the water
trickle over her husband’s squeaky-clean dinner plate while Suzy stands, brushes
herself off and avoids looking across the courtyard and into the road. The
streetlight is already warming up for the long night. Suzy thinks she hears
Miss Harris’ old terrier whining at the back gate. There’s a good chance it
will whine all night.
Els Prats de Rei
1 day ago