image by author.

last stairway.

Robert Rado

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I press my thumb against the freshly painted wall. I keep pushing until the flesh is red and the nail is white. I then roll the thumb so the nail digs into the paint and I lock and remove some of it under the nail. I stare at the minuscule discontinuation of paint I have produced.

Being me is not a complex experience. A recently refurbished living room, all is clean, light colours are dominant and the kitchen tiles aren’t yet cracked. The echoes of a still unfurnished apartment, one, indeed, never to be furnished.

Someone calls out. Based on syntax and intonation I believe it’s reasonable to assume that a question has been put. To me — perhaps. Sounds reverberate.

The interior of the place will be the same tomorrow and the day after. Returning here will bring no surprises. I’ll know precisely what to expect. Little by little, the stillness and the predictability will amount to a solid sense of reliability. This will be a trusted place and the furniture will no longer be missed.

Yet I wouldn’t want to belong here or even stay for too long.

Not a place to feel grounded at.

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