I moved into an apartment with my girlfriend. It’s a nice place: two-bedroom, bath, living room, and skinny kitchen. Five-hundred and ninety-five feet. Nothing special, but I like it. My parents aren’t hollering at each other in the morning, there aren’t a bunch of dogs barking at the air every hour of every day. Its been quite relieving.
Nonetheless, I had considered the thought of mutual destruction if the apartment simply wasn’t big enough for myself, my girlfriend and her six-year-old daughter. My fears were put at ease when we saw the place. It was adequate enough room for us to find separate purchase if necessary; sometimes, if I’m not alone for a few hours I will lose my shit.
It wasn’t until we moved in all of our furniture and appliances that we noticed something was amiss. For instance, a symmetrical rectangle of about one-foot and a half was cut into the second bedroom’s carpet and replaced with a dissimilar one. Likewise, the master bedroom had equal carpet abnormalities—six symmetrical holes, about the size of a dime each,were cut into the carpet. The most troubling aspect of the entire affair came after we asked the maintenance men (who were there to fix a broken garbage disposal), what was going on with the carpets?
One of the men rubbed his chin and said something like, “Oh, ya, I remember the lady who lived in here before…”
With no further explanation, nor carpenter acumen, I pressed him for more information.
He turned toward the bedroom wall and brought his hands out on either side of him as if he was showing me the size of a trophy fish and said, “She had this large black cage in here for animals.” Then he shook his head, “She was really, gah,” and he seemed dissatisfied with the reflection.
I had a bizarre vision of a spry old lady darting between rooms in the morning caring for multiple pet birds. One cage, though, the large black cage in her bedroom, contained several small children. “I didn’t mean I was going to have you over for dinner … I meant I was going to have you for dinner!” Her front door blew open amidst gales of laughter and the two maintenance men entered and put her down with pistol fire. My vision flagged as the maintenance men left.
Later, I put my finger into a few of the holes to check depth. They were about a quarter-inch deep and stopped at solid concrete. No cameras. The rest of the apartment was refurnished with new walls, paint, oven, dishwasher, counters and, what I thought, carpeting. However, the holes would mean the previous tenant installed them for indiscernible reasons. So, I can only surmise it’s not brand new carpet, but was diligently steam-cleaned by whoever prepared the apartment before our arrival.
With the previous occupant in question, and the vagueness of her departure lingering like the pervasive odor that clung to the master bedroom for several days, I can only surmise she committed suicide in this place; her brain splatter cut from the second bedroom’s floor and her body taken to the morgue. So, my active imagination has compelled me to believe her ghost haunts the two-bedroom home we inhabit and her animals remain as her phantom companions. I like to pretend she had birds because the truth would be a curse.