Friday, June 18, 2010
A young woman stands in a dim hallway. She is on the seventh floor of an old apartment building built with a communist aesthetic. The building is tall, narrow and long. She stands in the hallway, a long corridor lit only by a few small windows on each side of the buildings’ length, beside the stairs. A pale light seeps in and bits of dust travel in its rays.
The young woman is slender and pale, her shoulders revealing the pointed bones just below the skin. Over her slender frame is a red 1920s flapper dress. The fit is baggy, hiding all of her curves, though its low neckline begins to hint at her pointed breasts. The hemline reaches to her knees, where several inches of gold trim sway with each movement of her body. The dress has signs of wear and the seams along the sides have begun to loosen. A thin stretched out spaghetti strap keeps sliding off her bony pale shoulder, exposing the black strap of her bra. The girl’s hair is short, cut just below her ears, it is a messy head of wavy hair. Her cropped bangs hide the shy pale skin of her forehead.
Balanced in the palm of her left hand is a large plastic serving tray. The tray is long, wide, and oval, its shape providing the flooring for several dishes displayed on white porcelain plates. Each plate holds a different type of egg. Sunny side up, poached, boiled, soft boiled, she holds them all on the tray, attempting every now and then to replace the red strap of her dress to her shoulder with her right hand. It slides off quickly and when it does, she lets it be.
She stands in front of apartment #4 with the tray of eggs. Not far from her, in the doorway of a different apartment a few doors down, an older white man in a white tank top and a protruding pot belly stands silently. His large shape and broad shoulders almost block the entire doorway, covering everything behind the threshold. Without any words, with just a cold, indifferent stare, he watches the waiting girl.
The girl looks down at the worn dark carpet in the hallway, then back to the door of apartment #4. There is a small square glass window two-thirds of the way up the wooden door. She peers in, sneaking a glance at four young blond men putting on their military coats. The uniforms are maroon, decorative coats with metal buttons and bits of embroidery along the shoulders. She peeks into their space, then returns her gaze back to the worn carpet at her feet.