The locksmith called at 10:45…”could I meet him at the apartment building in a half an hour?” That seemed like a no-brainer. ”No problem” I said, “and while you’re changing the locks, I’ll wait at the Starbucks”. I packed my laptop and about 15 minutes later we (me and my laptop), are off to the apartment. It’s a quick jaunt or so I thought. This short six block walk with my laptop totally evaporates my energy reserve to the point that I thought I was going to be sick before I even met the locksmith. We get to the apartment building at the same time. He gets out of his truck, at which time (probably after seeing what color of ashen I am), says “You don’t have to climb the stairs, I’ll call you when I’m done, and meet you down at the corner Starbucks”. And so he did. He finished in about a half hour, and brought with him, two sets of keys, presumably one to lose, and one to lose later. Just kidding. He gave me the keys; I gave him a check. After finishing my fortifying Chai Latte, I head back to the hotel. I missed it already.
Later in the day, my friend Karen came by the hotel to accompany me to Proton at 4:30P. We wait until 5:30P before I'm taken…what’s new? Afterward, I rested, she did some nearby window-shopping, and then we went to dinner. It was a lot of fun, she and I haven’t spent that much time together in maybe twenty years.
I devise a plan before we go to dinner, to take one of my three luggage bags with me; and then after dinner Karen would carry it to the apartment,.. which is only four blocks from the restaurant. This would make it easier for me the next day when I’m checking out; I would have only two bags to walk up the steps, instead of three. And so we followed this plan.
We get to the apartment building and I open the lock with my brand new key, step into the foyer, smell the combination of the now all too familiar fragrance of watermelon lollipop, and the most potent vanilla candle in the universe (under other circumstances, this may not be stomach-turning, but now it surely is). I mount the stairs, open the door to the apartment with my new key, and smell that other less describable smell of "old building"…we walk up the last flight of stairs into the apartment, lay down my bag, and I feel all those familiar feelings from last week flood over me, and I think , “I’m not so ready to come back here again tomorrow, I need to find a way to move past the smells, or have the smells pass me by. Maybe if I just had one more day at the hotel?".
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