He was small for his size, but he had always been small for his size. He had thin lips and a delicate skull with prominent cheekbones. His brows were of normal size that shaded his pensive, intense brown eyes. He always looked like he was staring, but it was just that he was always thinking, finding solutions to things that he found difficult to understand. He showed little emotion, but it wasn’t because he was unfeeling. Brian felt a lot, to the point that he felt he had to hide all his feelings that it wouldn’t startle people.
He was looking for a new apartment in the city. He wanted a pre-war building since he was drawn toward the fine old architectural touches he found lacking in newer buildings. One apartment he was looking at had cracked plaster walls.
“It just needs a fresh new coat of paint!” the realtor said with a cheery smile.
Brian looked intently at the walls, and the ceiling cracks. His brows furrowed. He was imagining how he could fix the old place up. He liked the challenge.
Raj came from the inner city of New Delhi. It was loud and fragrant. There were signs of life everywhere to remind him that he was not alone in this world. Then he ended up in the suburbs of New Jersey. He started working for a pharmaceutical company in Lyndhurst. Every weekend, he would come into Manhattan to try a restaurant in Gramercy, or watch a movie in Times Square. After several months of this, he decided that he wanted to move into the city. He couldn’t afford much, but he was willing to sacrfice space and conveniences, such as a dishwasher and stairs.
There was an open house in a quaint little building in Midtown. A doorman greeted him, but refused to open the door for him. He instructed Raj to take the elevator to his right to the fifth floor. Raj took the rickety old elevator and entered to find a young man with his parents chatting with a friendly homely blonde woman. She has holding a binder, and as she was talking to the threesome, she waved her arm at Raj, motioning him into the tiny but brightly painted studio apartment.
“Come in! Come in! Please sign in, and I’ll be right with you,” she beamed. She was short and plump, sturdy. She was wearing a faux lavender fur coat, which matched her eyeshadow. She had the energy of a Bette Midler, and was around the same age as her.
This was Raj’s first open house, and he felt confused and out of place. He didn’t know if he needed papers or proof of qualifications, or any ID. Whenever he applied for anything in this country, he knew mounds of paperwork were involved. When she was done with answering the young man’s questions, he soon left with his parents. Raj immediately showed the woman his driver’s license. She looked down at it and chuckled, saying, “So, you’re interested in finding a new home?”
“Yes,” he said nervously.
“Well, here’s some important info. Oh, and you’ll need to fill this out.”
“Um, OK. How long does it take to buy a place?”
Raj walked out discouraged, but a little delighted at the thought of owning his own place. “A slice of the Big Apple,” he whispered to himself.
Brian went to the local steakhouse for lunch with his parents. He relied heavily on their opinion when it came to major life decisions. They had decided his major and which college to go to. They knew him best, and they knew what he had to do to succeed. They also knew that it was time for him to find a place of his own. The commute from Westchester to Midtown was getting grueling, as his hours at the office have been getting longer and longer. He was sensible with his money, so he was looking at starter apartments. He liked the apartment he just saw because of the architectural detail. He just wasn’t completely convinced. The realtor was nice enough, but was turned off at how desperate she seemed at selling the place.