Guest Post: A.N. Hendricks’ “Hazelbud”

The following was written by my dear friend, A.N. Hendricks, in preparation for a future story she has planned that will detail the course of our friendship. She wrote the words; I drew the comics.

“Hazelbud”

  • Last day of July. For the first hour I just sat in the middle of the living room with my new keys and stared around at this whole big thing I just bought. Walls and floor that were all mine.
  • For months I afforded it all editing scholarly books during the day and selling drunk people cigarettes at night for a small store called “The Black Market.”
  • The next night Belle moved into the apartment with not much more than clothes and books. All in boxes. (More books than clothes.)
  • amb4
  • She was staying with me briefly before jetting off to school in Seattle and leaving me trapped in cornhole Hillbilly hell. But we had a whole summery month together in this place.
  • My trinkets: Mona Lisa cigar box, Iraqi jewelry box, Italian glass frames.
  • Her trinkets: Kenyan flag (failed curtain), tiny dinosaurs.
  • Decoration: my terrible oil paintings, drunken sketches held up by Hopper and Seurat magnets on the fridge, Channing Tatum in moody blues.
  • Walls of white wood paneling. Tiny kitchen. Windows of east and west light.
  • No furniture. We slept on the floor. August ruined our backs.
  • We spent most of August lying on that floor. Laughing. Moaning. Rolling from room to room like fried eggrolls.
  • amb5
  • At night she sweat in the living room. I shivered in the bedroom.
  • Things she left behind: woven bowl from Kenya, paper cranes, apple shampoo, her father’s air gun that I keep far in the corner, several locks of black hair.
  • Missing (and missed) since she left: Korean pop songs. Rants about Judith Butler and Michel Foucault. Thai food takeout. Late, drunk nights at the sketchy sushi place.
  • amb3
  • No curtains. To the east is Bike and Bean, the only place where the smell of rubber tire and espresso blend. Above it is a studio apartment with windows that align with mine. The residents are peeping Toms.
  • They watched us dress for Dunnkirk, a second home to us, where we perfected aquatic-themed dance moves while men swam in schools around our bodies.
  • amb6
  • She called us “alcodemics.” I called us “academia nuts.” We hold literary theory far better than we do our drink.
  • I turned her onto whiskey. She did Jameson. I did Maker’s. (We still secretly indulged in the occasional Lemon Drop or Buttery Nipple.)
  • She brought with her a squeaking hamster. She is the sort of person who will spend an hour staring at a baby rabbit until she is certain the mother will return for it. I give no fucks for the rabbits.
  • Nobody trusted the shaky balcony, but she climbed it. She is reckless but invincible.
  • This apartment fortressed us during a summer that splintered our hearts.
  • She is as much engrained in the history of this place as I am.
  • I was just glad it was Seattle and not Korea. She may despise America, but I’m glad to have her still within its borders, even if on a far coast.
  • I am jealous all the time that she has an ocean and a volcano. Here there are just wide stretches of corn. And people who are elected queens of it.
  • She also frolics with adorable seagulls, and I am hunted by murderous crows.
  • Since she left I come home to no one. I don’t like other people sleeping over, but I felt safe and happy with her in the next room.
  • Now that no one else is here, I live in the cold and dark to avoid high electric bills. Clothing is optional and rare. There is no need to close the bathroom door.
  • I’ve learned to shower in under five minutes. The water never stays warm longer than that. Shaving means sitting in freezing water. Shaving means surviving potential arctic death.
  • The spying Bike and Bean neighbors watch me dart around my apartment before the lights go down. Let them look. I’ll be their “ugly naked guy.” Sometimes I want to hold up clothes and ask their opinion on my outfits.
  • Thin walls. I am privy to every word whispered and yelled by the neighbors on either side of me. Privacy is limited when people can hear you going about your life. It is strange to think that we are living our lives so closely together but apart. Just an ugly white wall separating our adventures.
  • I can’t help but think about their lives and whether this place means to them what it means to me. This apartment has seen me through a very trialing, bewildering, and magnificent year. Sometimes I want to knock on their doors and go, “You, too, right? It’s not just me? Are you evolving in this heap of brick and iron as well?”
  • I also wonder if they recognize the voices of my visitors. Did they remember Belle when she returned in December? And her laugh? And her meowing? And her sudden outbursts of “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck”?
  • amb2
  • I Guess I’ll Just Be Over Here Fucking Myself: The Trials and Tribulations of a Korean Immigrant by Belle “Bom” Kim. She will write it, and I will publish it.
  • Watching her cheer for South Korea during the World Cup was a startling and endlessly entertaining experience. She erupted in place.
  • The thing is she gets it: America is home and it isn’t. We feel like aliens coming here in peace. Germany is my mothership.
  • amb1
  • I renewed my lease. I can afford a ritzier place with my fancy adult job now, but for once I am deeply attached to the walls around me (though they are still blank and unattractively paneled). The military brat at last puts down roots!
  • I just wish I had my roommate back to kill crickets and spiders for me. Winter is finally over, and they’ve begun their invasions.
  • More importantly, she always made hangovers pleasant and hilarious and not so entirely shameful. 
  • amb8
  • I still can’t bring myself to pitch her apple shampoo. Because what if she comes back? Can shampoo expire?
  • The biggest pitfall of this apartment: I still haven’t figured out where to go in the event of a tornado, and the season starts soon.
  • Belle would probably make us stand outside on the rickety balcony and watch.     
  • amb7
  • I would do it. Natural disasters would spin the fuck away from us.
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