July 5, 2017
The apartment has three doors; two go to adjoining apartments, one to the hallway. I’ll deadbolt each of them. No, they said to keep one unlocked in case someone needs to come in for an emergency. I deadbolt all anyway. Too uncomfortable not to. The last door is to the hallway – what happened to the deadbolt? White duct tape is on the lock in two spots. Someone was in here! Why is there tape? Oh, the lock is loose. Not much security! I’m afraid to leave the apartment. But I better find Z. to see if he can fix it. Maybe he was the one in here, who did it. Wish he would have said something.
I find his helper. He gives me a complicated explanation about contacting Z. Special phone line; he’ll get me on it with the codes. Never mind, there’s Z. now. I hope he can fix the lock.
I’m climbing the ladder up to my top floor apartment now. No elevators in this building, just a series of ladders for stairs. They go up in tunnels. Narrow tunnels. Chutes. I try not to feel scared as I climb the ladders, six long ladders. The tunnel is barely big enough for me. The ladders next to mine are full of people, like my own ladder. It’s rush hour. I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to – people ahead, below me. The rhythm of the stomping up the ladder keeps me going. Most of the time I can’t see because it’s too dark. My hands are on slippery rails. Stomp, stomp, the rhythm keeps me going. I stuff my fear down. I must not freeze or panic.
This time no one else is on my ladder. I switch to the ladder against the wall so I feel more secure. But I am still alone. Slippery handrails. Could I fall? Will I freeze? Can I make it? No rhythm, no thump, thump.
I call out, “My door won’t lock. Just white tape that peeled off. Will that bother my climb?” The helper yells to me, reassures me. “It won’t matter.”
My sister and I make it to the beautiful courtyard. I hope she can tolerate not having an elevator. I hope the beautiful courtyard makes up for the ladders. People are lined up, sitting on the benches. “See,” I tell her, “Nice people. Friendly people.” I feel on display in the middle of the yard. I don’t mind.
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