First excerpt of a brand new new short story.
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. Revenge.
Four flights up a brownstone to a naked apartment. Carpet-less, inched within seven feet of height for standing. Hollow voices bounce off plain walls and echo in emphasis the lacking furnishing. It is a place that sees life often, though only fleetingly, and without depth. A place for both friends and strangers to retire to in the evening mist, only to wake up in and disappear with the dawn. One wall houses a large wood-framed window with a perch and a view of all those significant voices blurred in the distance to a rabble of discordant democracy. The daily lives of the few encompass the many bar the few with the view. Such a view that oxymoronically inspired loneliness and togetherness amidst hazy late nights and foggy early mornings in the hearts of many-a-stranger, strangers that would sit staring out starry-eyed at the city that never sleeps, nestled against a melange of cushions and pillows. A rattling fire escape running from the second floor to the roof is made alive with the footsteps of drunken friends reminiscing on the climb. They arrive to a scene of city lights and lively, mild air, a scene that they mistake as the motive for their presence, and soon realise it to be a mere vessel for all their dreamy wondering at futures. There are four of them, each one alike and each one different from the next. They all swear to be ‘home’. Two young women sit nestled with two young men, the youngest, Anna, is celebrating her fifteenth birthday. She tilts her head, rests it on Dennis’ comfortable quilted shoulder and sighs a cloud of hot breath visible into the brisk air.
“This is the coldest fourth of July ever.” She begins, now leaning forward to catch Georgina’s attention across Dennis. “And it’s not even eleven yet.”
Fireworks interrupt her. Central Park had initiated a sequence of homemade firework displays that reached like a mexican wave across the rooftops, and all around them became alight as majestic crashes boomed like exploding cartoon stars above their heads in every size and colour imaginable, before receding to a spectral still as the sequences reset. Anna stretched out her legs whilst reclining against the wall in relaxation, certain there could be no other moment like this; certain none may ever compete. The four of them sat in a comfortable silence long after the displays had died down, huddling close, drifting into the calming wisps of smoke and the calling stars.
Georgina turned to Anna. “Happy birthday.” Warm and beaming, they held each other’s gaze in silent agreement, then simultaneously set their heads lazily back on their shoulders and returned to the atmosphere.
Georgina was seventeen, she and Anna had been childhood friends before reuniting through high school after Anna had moved away with her mother, escaping the death of her father who had died under ‘suspicious circumstances’. Though it was never proven who or what came into contact with Mr. Sirota, Anna had since become increasingly distant from her mother, a woman whose questionable stability enabled Anna to avoid the confrontation that she feared the most. Since the move, Mrs. Sirota had become Miss. Turowitz, suspiciously losing the addresses and telephone numbers of those in her New York social circles. Anna had kept her father’s last name, enduring the displeased tone of her mother’s voice at her utterance of it. It is doubtful to ever become fact whether it was grief that blotted Miss. Turowitz’s vision of acceptable parenthood, or something more sinister. The only facts were that her husband had died, and her daughter felt displaced. In the end, it was fate that reunited the two girls, they had crossed paths once on a subway train, an event ultimately resulting in Anna’s estrangement from her mother’s morally loose home-life, and in Georgina’s parents taking her under their wings; though not lawfully. Anna stayed with Mark, the eldest, in his stripped down, punk-esque brownstone apartment.
Mark, now twenty-one – who had left home at a young age himself – saw something in Anna at the moment of their introduction two years prior. Georgina had brought her along to his house-warming in hope of Anna finding some friendly solace amongst the other keen misfits their company attracted, but it was Mark who had caught her eye. He had the calm-faced promise of a protective older brother, whilst tentative towards the upkeep of his hedonism. Mark was, at that age, leaning towards a kind of bohemianism only likely to be found at the Moulin Rouge; rather than a dusty old brownstone. Though he made it his own, and from the moment Anna entered she became immersed within new realms of freedom, enticed by a mysterious, yet shielding free-spirited young man, utterly experienced in the depths of self-indulgence and degradation. Georgina, being arty and relentlessly observant, realised early on the promise and importance of their friendship. She and Dennis attended the same high school, and so she envisioned their group. She smiled deeply true at the fondness of the epitome of her imagination so far. Here they all were, closer than ever, each one different, yet each one the same. Georgina sighed as it pricked her heart: the thought of perfection.