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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Vichinsky

Sonder

Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's Writing, The Great Gatsby

"High over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life" (Fitzgerald 35).



 

The lady in the warmly lit kitchen pulled out a cutting board. Her shoulders rose for a second and then relaxed downward toward the ground. She sighed, I suppose. She looked up to the ceiling of that apartment as she stood at the small kitchen island.

She was probably thinking about that one lady at her job who left her shift without completing the checklist. Therefore, she was stuck going back through the daily chores of the residents. The furious texts she must have sent to that coworker.

"Text me back, please."

"Did you wipe down the bathroom?"

"What does your note mean? Do I need to call them back?"

She, obviously, never got a response back. It never works out that way.

Back in the apartment, she pulls the scallions out of the bottom of the refrigerator drawer. On her way back up she hits her head on the freezer door and her face, it looks like, grimaces as she rubs it with her palm.

Maybe it hit that scar from when she fell off her bike at age 10. Her dad must have told her not to ride her bike down that neighborhood hill when it rained. She enjoyed, though, the feeling of the rain hitting her face and the imaginative quality that she could effectively dodge the rain if she swerved back and forth.

The gravel at the bottom of the hill made it a point to ruin that imagination.

On a swerve to the left, a technique common to this daydream, the woman in the apartment lost control of the bike scraping her knee and effectively cutting her head open.

She must have cried, "I'm sorry, Daddy!" more ashamed of failing to listen to his advice than the pain.

He must have said, "No, no, don't be sorry. I'm just glad you're okay."

That night she probably went to the hospital and got 4 stitches. Which she didn't feel because she was "strong!" ...

Or because of the numbing shot and red popsicle.


She sat and chopped the scallions. At this moment, she looked at peace. Her eyes had a a relaxed daze to them and, now and then, she would do a little dance to herself. Most likely, she was listening to her playlist she listens to when she needs confidence. The ones that talk about independence and rebellion from the daily grind. She listens as she does the daily grind.

To the side of her, from behind the fridge, a man with a towel around his waist walks past her. They do not acknowledge each other. He walks to the couch which is to the left from my view, and in front of the woman. He kicks his feet up and puts his hands back behind his head. He closes his eyes and then remembers the silence and bolts forward to turn on the T.V. - A gesture to explain he does not want to think about the day anymore.


It was Livvy. The girl at his firm. She was new and interesting. She still laughed at his jokes and didn't see his imperfections which should have all but been revealed to the lady cutting scallions.

He had to work late and she was there.

"Hey! Do you want to grab a drink?" She may have asked.

He suddenly felt guilty and thought of this lady at home. He probably thought he did something wrong. He didn't, at least from my own standards.

He said, "No" but that's not what made him feel guilty. It was the longing of curiosity. The feeling of wanting to go. That's what twisted him. He knew he liked his life - he longed for the comfort of home often. What was it?


When he was ten, he may have come home from playing Legos with the kid across the street. He opened the door and his mother lay crying on the living room couch.

"He left me!"

Of course, there was the business with the house. He had bought this house on the outskirts of the city. It was meant to be a fixer-upper. He hadn't touched it. The dream of putting all the pieces together had felt as far away from him as before he bought the project. It must have felt heavier now, over time, the thought of accomplishing something that he hadn't felt the drive to accomplish, yet didn't have an excuse not to.


The backyard he grew up in was filled with these things. He remembers asking his mom at that time why his dad never finished them.

"Your father is a man of passion. Whatever he feels he builds -" Then, I picture, she squatted down to his level, "passion only lasts so long, what you want is love." She must have smiled. What's the difference? He now thinks.


The woman is washing her hands and looks back over her shoulder at the man on the couch. She says something. It was something short. His eyes opened and he didn't respond right away. She turned around as she wiped her hands on a dish rag and walked toward him. She tried to say something again. Her eyes were angled as if she were frustrated by the something he did not say. He turns his head and shakes his head.

She pauses then and there, turns away for a second, and then back towards him and continues to walk toward him.

She wrapped her chilled hands, wet from the sink water and washed scallions, on his cheeks and kissed the top of his head. You could see him melt a little.

He smiles, she smiles. His hands drop from behind his head to his side. He pushes himself up from the couch - like he's been awakened from a trance. She walks back to the kitchen wagging her finger sarcastically and saying something assuredly. He talks back with a smug laugh and his hand out explaining something that she's heard from him already.

They both laugh and together they walk around the corner, behind the refrigerator, to another room of the apartment - out of sight.

The warm light radiates through the window and reflects through the drifting snowflakes. I smile as I close my curtains.

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