It was morning. Alma woke up and looked over at Felix lying next to her. He was smiling sweetly. She got up and went to the bathroom. While in the bathroom she looked in the mirror, and remembered the feeling she had the day before and the day before that, it was the feeling of fear; not pain, not hope, not sadness, not happiness. She was always afraid, it was not the kind of fear that made you run screaming, but a sort of numming fear that drove all her decisions. She took a shower and got dressed to go to work.
Felix woke up just as she was going out the door, “Hey,” he called to her, ”Your not going to say good-bye, no kiss?” She went back into the bedroom leaned down and kissed him gently on the head. “I have to go to work. Bye.” She turned to leave the room.
“I’ll stop down at lunch, there is something we need to talk about. Could you turn on the computer on your way out? I love you. “Felix said. “Yea, me too.” She mumbled on her way out the door.
Alma walked around the corner to her job at an alternative video store. Each morning she opened up the shop and sat behind the register waiting for the perverts to come in and ask for the adult section. This was her only real joy in life, watching their disappointed faces when she told them they didn’t have one, and then watching the emotion change when she told them she was kidding and pointed to the black curtain that covered the adult section. She liked taking them on an emotional ride.
Felix got up and set off to work on the computer. He designed advertising banners for web pages. This just barely afforded them their apartment. In the second bedroom they shared a studio space. Felix painted, and Alma made illuminated manuscripts. Felix’s goal that day was to finish the design he was working on, up load it, and then go paint. This was his plan everyday, sometimes it actually happened. Today he was determined because he knew he might not have the space much longer.
At about 1 p.m Felix made two sandwiches and went down to the store where Alma worked. “Hello, sweetpea, I have lunch.” he said as he handed her her sandwich. “What did you want to talk to me about?” she said. “Boy, you don’t waste anytime. I think we have to take on a roommate, I can’t see any other way to afford to live.” Felix said. He waited to see Alma’s reaction. “What does this mean?” She said. “It means we have to give up the studio space. We could rent it out to Seth, he’s looking for a place.”, he answered.
Alma thought, ‘Give up the studio space? This really doesn’t effect me, I can do the manuscripts anywhere. This would take away his painting space.’
Felix pleaded,”Please Alma, just understand and say yes.”
“O.k”, she said,”This really effects you more then it effects me. “
“I’ll call Seth when I get home.” Felix said.
After Felix left she started thinking about Seth as a roommate. She had known Seth for as long as she had known Felix. She began to reminse about how and Felix and she met. She would watch Felix and Seth get on the train to Westchester everyday on there way back from school. They would meet by her food stand and get on the train together and find a seat. She would watch though the train window as Seth would open up his lap-top and Felix would open his scketch pad. They would sit and work quietly until the train left. She felt a strange connection to Felix. Somehow she felt as if she could hear what he was thinking.
One day Felix showed up earlier then Seth. He stopped by Alma’s food stand and started talking to her, they had a short conversation about how good orange juice is. Seth showed up and Felix got on the train. For weeks after that Felix would show up early and start a conversation with her. She was always polite but never gave him more information then she needed to. One day he showed up even earlier then normal. He smile as he approuched, ”Alma, I have something for you.” From his scketch pad he pulled out a drawing of her.
Alma stood and stared at the drawing. It was a beautiful drawing that he had obviouly spent a lot of time on. “This is….incredable.” she said, “Thank you so much, I’m very flattered.” she added as she handed it back to him. “No, it’s yours,” he said.
There eyes locked, and before Alma could help herself, large tears started rolling down her flaming red cheeks. She looked away and muttered something about her dammed allergies as she wiped her eyes on her shirt sleeve. “Thank you” she said as she regained some composure. “But I have no where to put it, I don’t want it to get wrecked”. Felix smiled,”Well, how about I stay in the city and walk you home when you get of work?” He said tipping his head, flashing a toothy smile and trying very hard to look like James Bond. Alma giggled, she looked up at him demurly and said, “Ok”.
Three weeks later they started apartment shopping together. Once they moved in together there relationship took on a timeless quality.
But this was not the matter at hand, Seth as a roommate was what she needed to get her mind around. She never really trusted Seth. When she and Felix had first moved in together, Seth made a pass at her. When she rebuffed him, he laughted it off and said he was testing her to make sure she was really in love with Felix.
Since then Seth would try to weasel his way between she and Felix. She thought that maybe she should nnot have agreed to have Seth as a roommate so quickly. But then, she reasoned, she knew that she could not tell Felix why she didn’t want Seth as a roommate. He trusted Seth, without question. When she told Felix about the pass Seth made he said, “Oh, he was just testing you, making sure you wouldn’t hurt me.” Whenever she tried to discuss the uneasy feelings she had about Seth Felix would tell her she was crazy and make a joke of it.