Walking home through the southside of Williamsburg, back from the video store, I saw things I probably will not see many more times in the same context. I will no longer walk along South 2nd Street to get home from the video store. There were lots of new buildings, most of which looked ugly, and old apartment buildings, also ugly, but ugly in a much better way, the way old things are. It is a hot day and gathered on the street were lots of older neighborhood types (read Latino, not white twentysomethings), sitting on their stoops, listening to music, playing games - it being cooler outside than in an un-air conditioned apartment.
I picked up some beer at my corner bodega, La Divno Nino, splurging on Hoegaarden since I just got paid 300 for a blowjob. I paid my landlord, Iris, my very last rent check. She was hanging out with her family on the sidewalk, this large family which I have come to know over these past four years, various ones of them assisting me in apartment crises. I have seen her children grow up, seemingly so much so in just four years. She told me that she was sad I was leaving, and I could tell she was. It felt like a departure, and I was sad also. I lied and told her that she had been a great landlord and I would miss her. The missing her part true, the good landlord part not so much. But regardless of how much she doesn't take care of her building, she also never harrassed me about anything and was always way more understanding than any landlord should be about late rent. Our first year here, all three of us were always behind on rent, usually so by about a month, and never were we evicted or even threatened with such an action. Iris would always be understanding and would tell us that it was okay.
She also has seen me grow in so many ways. I look a lot different than the kid that moved here to New York four years ago, have become in some ways more New York, meaning a little better dressed and presented, and that's what I thought about during our sad little moment, about how you see a person so regularly and interact with them, such as co-workers, landlords, or customers, them becoming a part of your life in this very distant way (but a part nonetheless), and then you just leave, probably never to see each other again.
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