Secrets at 1065 Park Ave.
“Love is fleeting, like a fleet of ships deserted in the desert”
— Jarod Kintz
“He’s part-time on weekdays, 23 years old, and I think his name is Nate.”
My sister’s whisper fell faint as my mouth gaped open while I walked into my apartment building. The man who opened the door for me was not David, the graying, skinny Jew with two kids in college, who berated me about my late nights and consistently inquired about my high school GPA. Nor was it Donald, the hearty, year-round Santa Klaus who chuckled nervously each time I asked for my mail and was oddly fond of Katy Perry.
The hand that guided me into our familiar foyer belonged to no man, but a boy. He had tiny dimples indented into his cheeks, framing his wide gapped smile. His hair was dark and shaggy, descending upon his erratic blue eyes, screaming, “I’m a genetic anomaly.” He raised his eyebrows, thick, like two dark clouds barely brimming the horizon of his lashes. I immediately raised mine as well, returning the gesture in a manner that I thought would appear flirtatious (upon further examination in our lobby mirrors several seconds later, I realized that I actually resembled a drunk mime, the kind you would find in Central Park and immediately run away from.)
“Thanks,” I mumbled seductively.
I knew instantly that we had a connection. Although neither of us ever acknowledged it, we entered a whirlwind romance that day, which silently took both of us by storm and shook the very foundation of 1065 Park Avenue. He was totally in love with me. It was fairly obvious in the way that he’d casually state, “Your dad just got home,” or my favorite, “You received a package from Amazon Prime.”
Keeping the passion alive grew more difficult when I left for Georgetown. Each time I returned home for break, I had the taxi drop me off at the Starbucks around the corner, so I could primp before emerging into the building and reuniting with my long-lost love. It was as if I had been off at war, and he’d been patiently waiting for me back at the home front. Whenever I exited or entered the lobby with my family during Christmas or Easter holiday, I made sure to throw in a few curse words. He needed to know I was not a little girl anymore; college had transformed into a woman.
One time, I strutted into the lobby loudly rapping the lyrics to a Kanye West song. I could tell he was impressed.
The summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I sensed a rupture in our daily lobby rendezvous. I looked forward to coming home each evening from my internship, greeted by Nate’s ill-fitting gray suit and natural musk. Then I noticed that around 5 p.m., he briefly disappeared, and I began to wonder if my mind had invented him purely for my own amusement.
I finally found him one day, crouching in the neighboring building’s courtyard, smoking a joint. Our eyes locked and I let out a tiny giggle. It was the first secret we ever shared.
Some love is fleeting. Some love is silent. Some love is true, even if its very existence is never declared.
I returned from Georgetown in June to learn that Nate had begun working at another building, which offered him a full-time position. I also learned that his name was really Eli. I often think back on our time together fondly. I wonder if he ever does, or did, think of me.