Monday, February 8, 2010

The Old Man's Apartment

The apartment held that familiar musty scent, an oder of dust and age permeated throughout the small 3-room studio.

He hadn't stepped foot in that apartment for what must have been at least four years, but he did so today. The apartment belonged to his grandfather, an 80-some odd year old diabetic who had moved to New York City from 臺山 China, bringing with him his two sons.

The apartment was a mess; it always had been. Littered with miscellaneous items from bird cages to books and magazines dating back at least 30 years and they were all covered in dust. Inside the bathtub, which rested several feet from the broken down kitchen stove, rested the old man's umbrella as shirts hung to dry from the curtain bar above.

It had been years since he had stepped foot in the apartment building and since then much had changed, though his grandfather's unit itself, had remained quite the same. The bathroom door still didn't shut all the way, the markings still remained on the door post, chronicling he heights of his brother and himself growing up, the bed in what could conceivably be the guest room remained dusty and browning, as did the old man's bed in the master bedroom. In fact, the only thing that seemed to be used was the new flat panel t.v. that sat on top of the old antique table-sized set.

Moments earlier he had spent a good 10 minutes with his brother ensuring that their grandfather, weak and shaking uncontrollably from low blood sugar, got up the six flights of stairs to his apartment and to a seat where he could rest and catch his breath.

Upon entering the old man's apartment, he was immediately reminded of his childhood moments spent in the apartment while visiting with his parents and he also immediately came to the realization that his grandfather was a man that was terrible at taking care of himself, from leaving food out on a table unattended to for days to letting junk amass in piles for years. He wondered how two children could ever be raised in a place like that.

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