In Emulation of Stacey Waite’s “when…” Collection
when living in an airbnb with your mom
fresh off laguardia’s commotion, you and mom find yourselves in front of a bodega in the heart of crown heights. she looks uneasy as you enter and ask the cashier for a key listed as isabella’s when it is really michelle’s key, the key to michelle’s home. retrieval of the key is simple, but lugging your two carry-ons makes your mom huff in annoyance as you try to find the apartment with local eyes judging you and deeming you either as newbies or as tourists. you find apartment 464 soon enough, but your mom’s annoyance extends beyond lugging the luggage to the absence of a television, the creaking wood floors, and the fact that 6am flights are not as convenient as you promised they would be. oh my god, i completely forgot to check off the television option on the amenities list you assure her, trying to wipe the blame off yourself. fine, it’ll be fine she responds, but you can catch the irritation instantly. you want to tell her that you two will spend the whole day exploring the city, so much so that she’ll completely forget that the tv is nonexistent, but you know she needs those electronic waves to sleep. luckily, your ipad serves as a replacement as you play netflix for her and allow her to put on house hunters. you know these next four days might further upset her insomnia, but the buzz of being in the city keeps your mind off her. i mean, it’s better than paying $500 a night for a hotel room, right? you say and look at her with caution. you should of seen the slow turn of her head and those two death daggers coming, as she bitterly replies sure isabella, at least i know what i’m getting into when i drop $500 down. you’ll make sure to keep that in mind for next time, if there is a next time.
when living in an airbnb with your dad
laguardia is drastically different in march than in may. you were expecting mild sunshine, maybe a light breeze. definitely spring. you weren’t prepared to feel the sting of a winter air, the melting snow from nyc’s last snowfall. dad definitely wasn’t ready for it either, but at least his bigger figure and potbelly could keep him warm. you were left with your bony, petite self and your fuzzy forever 21 coat that proved to suck at insulation. at the very least, your mom had forced you two to pack heavier clothing as she had lived in new jersey for a decade of her life. lucky you thought, as you and your dad’s sole existence in florida proved to make you naïve to the sting of wintertime. the uber couldn’t come quick enough as you and dad accustom yourselves to the warmth of the honda’s leather seats. the journey to crown heights is this time, a repeat, and one that you love to see through your father’s eyes. the jewish enclave of queens, the men with their curly ringlets and hats, the women holding their children’s hands tightly, gripping them as they traveled through the cold, the rush of locals trying to get to work, the various tunnels you pass to get to the streets of brooklyn. this time around, the uber driver drops you off at the right place but you have to enter another bodega to get another stranger’s key with your name on it, a key to their home. your dad guards your luggage as you enter the family-owned store, narrow as a subway car, and request the key that has been left in your name by rez. uncertainty slowly fills the air as the cashier spends a copious amount of time searching. you sure it’s not another bodega down the street? he asks, giving you the idea of being a crummy visitor to this city that you’ve been to before. one visit to another bodega and a return to the original bodega and you’re calling rez to inquire about these keys, when she tells you that she forgot to leave the keys in the first place. if i thought mom was bad, dad’s going to kill me on the spot you mentally scream before leaving the bodega to admit the truth to your dad, who huffs in annoyance, but this time, this huff is funny to you because it’s the same kind you would give. you crack jokes as you walk to the dunkin donuts to wait for an uber to drop off the keys for you, in the process spilling hot chocolate on your fuzzy baby blue forever 21 coat, which is still sucking at insulation. eventually, after lugging two suitcases up four flights of steep stairs, you find yourself in apartment 7, which instantly reminds you of ripley’s believe it or not museum. this time, you made sure to check the tv box on the amenities list, because you know how your dad practically spends a fourth of his life in front of his television on weeknights and weekends. if there were no tv, you would definitely be a goner. you almost feel the world crumbling when the plasma tv on the wall doesn’t turn on. but your dad starts moving rez’s items and connecting cords and you think something’s going to catch on fire and you pace these creaky wooden floors until it turns on and your dad sighs in relief on the couch. things always work out. you leave the living area to explore the rest of the apartment when you hear him mutter there’s only four channels. it will never be enough, will it?
based on a all too real true story; photo credit belongs to me