Mary pulled down the remaining slips of paper scotch-taped to the window, bits of dust fleeing in all directions. Crumpling the pages in her hands, she surveyed the dimly lit room. The entire floor was nondescript grey carpeting and the walls were vaguely stained. A tiny porcelain sink, which Mary could only assume used to be white, next to a microwave that looked older than she was and a refrigerator that barely reached her chin were all the “studio” boasted for a kitchen. At least the bathroom smelled like bleach.
Well, this hellhole makes prison look like an upgrade. She threw the paper towards the garbage can next to the fridge and missed. At least it’s my hellhole.
“It ain’t Buckingham Palace,” Mr. Padaluski said as he dropped the three cardboard boxes that held all of Mary’s physical belongings to the ground. He paused to catch his breath and pull out a handkerchief that was just as dingy as the apartment before continuing.
“But I imagine it will be more than enough for someone of your,” he paused again as he nodded his receding hairline in her direction, “circumstance.”
Mary shot him her perfected “if looks could kill” glare. She wasn’t sure if he was referring to her age, family background, financial standing, or race. Probably all of it.
Mr. Padaluski was completely unphased by her dragon-stare. She made a mental note.
“Is there anything else coming?,” this time he gestured to the boxes and the suitcase she pulled in with her.
“My boyfriend is bringing over a bed later.”
Mr. Palauski raised his eyebrows but moved on.
“Rent is due on the first and 15th. No exceptions.”
Mary rolled her eyes and sighed after he shut the door behind him. She stretched her arms over her head, pulling on her wrist. After spinning on the ball of her foot, she looked out the faded windows. A soft smile broke the stillness.
Freedom, at last.
The weight in the pit of her stomach lifted, if only for a moment.