the smell of stairs

So I was going to low key cheat and work on a post I drafted 4 years ago about radiators (a recurring feature? prop? character? in my writing). And I did work on it and will work on it but I realized I also want to write about stairs.

I moved around a bit when I was a kid. Most of the apartments were in classic Chicago 3 and 6 flats. Many of my friends did too. (Grad student families?) Single family homes were always a bit mysterious and overwhelming. So many places for hide and seek. Not needing to use keys to get to the laundry room. One of my friends even had a laundry chute!

I don’t think I envied the houses. Mostly seemed like a different way to use space. Like an apartment folded into oragami.

And what I am thinking about tonight are stairs. How in apartment buildings they are this kind of in between space, a public private ambiguity.

Some of my earliest Chicago memories are of trudging up the stairs to a family that babysat me. The dad looked like a Bee Gee and mom like a Charlie’s angle. They had a kid but I don’t remember her. I think the staircase was dark and carpeted, on the verge of ominous though I never felt uncomfortable.

past time for bed…. hope to finish tomorrow. I can see the words.

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