K.S. ANTHONY: House of Transience

06 October 2016

House of Transience

This is the end, according to Aristotle,
what we have all been waiting for,
what everything comes down to,
the destination we cannot help imagining,
a streak of light in the sky,
a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.

--Billy Collins, Aristotle
I remember my first night in this apartment. I had no sheets, so I slept under my blazer on the plastic-covered foam mattress and used my duffle bag as a pillow. I bought an expensive comforter, but no cover for it, and a cheap set of sheets at Laytner's the next day or the day after. The orange-pink light from the street easily cut through the shades that I left drawn for the next two and a half years and the sirens didn't ever seem to stop screaming down Broadway.

I didn't decorate this studio for over a year. The walls stayed bare. A few framed pictures sat on bookshelves. The books provided some semblance of geographical commitment, but by and large, this place had the feeling of a temp worker's cubicle: transience. I was lonely here. It was only after meeting my girlfriend that I moved furniture, hung pictures, bought a mirror.

The same three bags that I moved here with are all that I have here now. The books have all been packed and shipped. All that remains are the pieces of ugly furniture loaned to me by Columbia and bare walls where picture hooks hint at where one might anchor a memory. In leaving this apartment, I've had the opportunity to leave other things: dishes I've moved too many times, pieces of paper containing ideas that I've discarded, relics of former selves as useless as molted feathers or dry snakeskin.

Transience, as always, triumphed over the illusion of permanence. My living space is as informed by what has happened (on a lark, I applied and got into Columbia and now have a job waiting for me in L.A.) as it is by what didn't happen (I didn't get into graduate school here). The apartment that I am sitting in right now is as strange as it was on that first January night and, despite the ugly New York swelter of late May, was just as cold on my last.

Written May 2013 before moving to Hollywood. After serving out two years in Southern California's dark underbelly, I returned to New York City.

The rest is still being written.