Posts Tagged ‘Fables’

Her Little Hovel In The Northwest Corner

In Short Fiction on December 16, 2011 at 6:49 PM

I used to see the morning sky, breaking at dawn over the tall buildings of Manhattan. But now that’s gone.

View from a window on the North-Face, approx. 1 year ago

Of course, the North-Face was bound to fall subject to the same fate as the South-Face. I just never expected it so soon. There, several years ago, the southern exposure’s view of 1 Penn Plaza was replaced by a 40-story building of luxury condos. But light still reflected off the buildings, making it less disturbing. I successfully paid it no mind.

Shortly afterwards, the erosion on the South-Face of the building became so severe, they sealed it off for repair. All the light was blocked by a make-shift wall of wooden flats and cheap boards. With no other windows except the Western and Northern exposures, more than half of the place was left in darkness. A little house we had rented in the mountains helped make the situation less disturbing. It was difficult, though, to pay it no mind.

Returning to the city, I looked out the window (pictured above) and down below, saw:

Foundation of new skyscraper along the North-Face (Spring, 2011)


I realized what this meant, as far as both the South and North exposures were concerned, and an inevitable fate of darkness. Only the western exposure remained, already compromised by the neighboring building. My spirits sank into darkness. Yet, the promise of an interim apartment in the city, raised a glimmer of hope. I clung to the prospect, eagerly searching until I found one.

After going through the application and approval process, the new home seemed secured. It took most of the Spring and Summer but I paid that no mind. For two days, the happiness and promise rejuvenated the vitality of youth; a youth, women of my age may naturally celebrate. Then, the phone call came. The call from a stranger thousands of miles away. On speaker-phone, his voice dashed the promise and hope so desperately needed.


For him, it was nothing.

For me, it was everything.


He never saw the consequences. He didn’t care to see. Without any impression of caring about what would happen, no one else seemed to mind. Nobody felt troubled. But I knew, and vehemently advocated for our cause. My pleas fell on deaf ears. Placating or humoring me, a number of reasons were put forth. I found the attempt only revealed a more appalling predicament. Not one of the explanations for executing his decision made sense. A stranger, having the power to affect our lives so dramatically, was no less than disturbing. It signaled a terrifying, infuriating, epiphany: I had unknowingly been rendered powerless by a series of signatures on a series of documents.

Who could I blame except myself, alone?

I had allowed my own person to end up in whatever awful position I now realized I was in.

Where the situation easily occurs for young women like myself, an ignorance of it sealed my fate. Naive and disillusioned, I placed an unwarranted trust in humanity. Youth afforded time and denial, but not, an understanding to fully grasp the extent of my horrible mistake.

I rallied again despite a troubled heart. “Everything happens for a reason. Mistakes may teach the lesson that must be learned,” I reasoned.

Several weeks later, the promise of a safe and healthy place to call home, came again. I met its hope with trepidation, the second time, but it still revived my soul. The first time, I had been skeptical. As before, my dubious manner received various verbal assurances, “Don’t worry.”

“Everything will work out. Everything will be fine.”

And for a second time, weeks passed searching, and I found a place (at half the budget.) Just as I was making the announcement, that same authority came from thousands of miles away.

I ought to have known better. A pernicious cruelty lies in the breast of false hope. By executing the decision a second time, I was, in many ways, executed as well. Broken, that spirit of youth perished, faster than nature’s course would have had it live.

I look back on she, whom now, seems so far away; a person alien and lost, quickly fading from an old woman’s memory. Denial has caught and digested that youth. In the time it took for the building to be raised by the North-Face, I aged twice my natural years.

The only sky I see now is from the hovel I made in the northwest corner. There I sit, day after day, waiting. The air full of toxic chemicals, dust and who-knows-what-else speed the aging and its coming to pass. I welcome it, tired of fighting and too ashamed by what is no one’s fault but my own.

The lesson?

Never trust another unless it benefits them greater than it benefits you. Otherwise, good faith in humanity will kill slowly the fool who well deserves its noose. The good guy never wins in a world devoid of moral and ethical compassion. Empathy will damn you to hell.


I made the mistakes but failed to learn in time. I reap what I sow and don’t care any longer for clinging to this cliff with my fingertips. I let go and fall into the void, never to be remembered. Instead, characterized as this vile, amoral creature, I am quickly forgotten and their creation, that Thing, takes my place. In the little hovel I made around the northwest corner, without a soul to fight it off, that Thing fills an empty shell.

Kinder and more humane would they be, if instead, I’d been shot or stabbed or poisoned. But it was easier, I suppose, to kill me with kindness. No accountability and all responsibility deferred, leaving their creation in the corner, silent, deaf and dumb.

The consequences, I dare not write or speak of. I understand now and pay the price, a fate worse than death. However, remember my story as we do reap what we sow. Humans are weak, cowardly and malicious in their ignorance.


As it was in the beginning, so shall it now and forever be….

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