Mr. Cromwell always drew the curtains of his window, where his unit sat right above the Romero’s whose daughter I used to date back in ’93. Some say he was allergic to the sun while others assumed the daylight aggravated his depression. Every time I pedaled my way across his once-dilapidated apartment building in my fixed-speed bicycle, I’d see his shades drawn. I was sure his curtains were stained by the sunlight from being drawn so often. At night, when I’d make my way home, after picking up Mom’s medication from the Pine Street corner pharmacy, I’d catch Mr. Cromwell’s silhouette. It’d be still, as though he knew the world was watching him eat his supper or touch himself to his perfunctory Thursday night routine—Patti McGuire on the front cover.
But now that the city has renovated the entire apartment building—the siding’s luster restored, the rain gutters replaced, and wooden shutters repainted—the elusive Mr. Cromwell no longer resides there. He took his faded and stained window curtains, the rusty leaf gutters and splintered oak wooden shutters with him as if the best parts of what once existed with him, no one paid much attention to.
Now, that window above the Romero’s is almost always left wide open. No curtains are ever drawn, leaving the rest of the city a lot less wonderful.