I remember he said to her, "I work hard. We should have nice things." And she, not wanting to argue, said, "Yeah. Whatever you want to do." So that day they went downtown and I was with them. We went around Fisherman's Wharf and it took forever to park, but the way he drove, so fast and sure, we found a space in time to meet the real estate lady.
I was like a ghost. Living with them, eating in between their ins and outs of the kitchen. Staying as quiet as I could when the roof was falling in with screaming matches. Were they happy? Were they not? Sometimes it was as though they were my parents and I knew I always wanted them to get along and love each other. On some nights they did. His hand on her waist, she would smile up at him. They'd match so well.
But lately he was on her about decorating the apartment while he was away and she was on about being an Independent Woman.
A lady in a charcoal gray fog colored suit showed us up to the towers. Arguably the tallest and newest in The City, made of glass. We signed a waiver, and I was a third wheel. The woman eyed me warily. "I'm the roomate." I said. And she nodded, but didn't understand. I'm not sure I understood.
I know from my Mother that half of wealth is faking it. You do not have to be rich to have Class. If you can speak coherently and walk with purpose, you can be One Of Them. I feel like I could have made it work. But I wanted to suffer more than pretend at that point. I kept my head down and my hair in my face.
From the bridge I could see the towers on my way in. If I was coming back from Oakland, I could see those clear spires green and phosphorescent. In the daylight, I looked up and thought I might spot people at their breakfast tables. Cracking boiled eggs in plush, woolen bathrobes. But down below, with normal people, when you're next to the bay, you'd rather look at the bay. Past that, the Pacific. And that's what I did.
Then I was up inside one of the units. So vast and ridiculous. So white and sterile. A party of 50 could be had in any room. They argued in low tones in this new environment, too.
"Where would we put this?" "That would never work there,"
Everything was windows. Even the bathroom. I stood in the dry shower, absently fingering a white, spray painted starfish decoration, and looked down on the ant-tourists and the avenue and wondered what kind of complex you'd get sitting up here like God. All rainbows and fog. Prisms and toil down below. If anyone'd earned it, he did. And I wanted them to have the best. In the end, they didn't even have each other.
We rode down in a tin box for 98 floors in silence.