120 Minutes

I left work around 12 AM in a hurry because I was in Miami staying with friends.  I worked walking distance in what I believed to be a quiet lush neighborhood in North Miami.  When I got to the apartment no one was answering….

10 minutes ….

This is my face :/.  I was in such a hurry to leave work on time I didn’t attend to a personal issue, and now, I have to pee really, really, really badly.  I go around the back of the building, and pee in the bush, a tropical density, that evokes Eden.  The bush, I am praying, isn’t replete with the very large spiders I see all over this particular neighborhood.  My forceful stream of urine splashes in my Adidas slides.  I stand up, I shake it off, I don’t think about it, and go back to the front of the house to wait.

20 minutes

Around now is when I start to sweat because it is Miami in August, and the weather is excruciating.  I pull out my laptop and decide to get some work done because there is always something to do, and I can get a WIFI signal.  I am still pretty chill at this point even though I am sweaty, and dirty, and have trace amounts of urine in my slides. 

30 minutes

THE FUCKING POWER goes out. On the entire block.  It took me a while to realize it wasn’t just a brown out.  Now, I am really starting to get how ridiculous this situation is, and I start getting aggravated.

40 minutes

Suddenly, a woman (who turns out to be a hooker) starts screaming and crying at the top of her lungs.  I can’t see her, but I can hear her clearly.  It’s a thing.  There is a thing going on not very far from me, but there is still no power so I decide to brave it and walk to the nearest fast food place. I could see only the block I was on had lost power, and I wanted to be near a WIFI signal.  So I pack all my things and start making the walk.

43 minutes…

I get halfway to the corner, and the power comes back on.  I sigh and turn back around because now I could hear two women and guy screaming. I decided it best to avoid that situation entirely, and walk back to the apartment. 

58 minutes

I start getting hungry.  I sigh again, frustrated, thinking about the expertly prepared authentic Peruvian food I had leftover from lunch.  I was saving it for precisely this moment.  By the way, the two women and the mystery man have not stopped fighting.  I ignore this fact, pack my things, and brave the street.  

85 minutes

I make my way down the street with my heavy backpack, and slides that now feel FULL of urine.  I am walking through air so dense my hair is wet.  I feel filthy, knowing, I am just starting to smell.  I can still hear the fighting threesome.  As I get closer the situation becomes clearer.  The women are trashy blondes in matching pink tees and jean shorts.  Obviously prostitutes.  One is in the middle of the street, tear stained, make-up dripping and screaming drunken nonsense at the other who is wrapped around a very thin man wearing only basketball shorts and a baseball cap.  I walked by these fine people without engaging because I have my own problems, and continue around the corner.  

I turn the corner, and it is like I walked straight into Grand Theft Auto.  I stand in front of a Botanica that is gated with a GIANT padlock.  I know for a fact there are at least 40 caged chickens in there (that is another story).  To my left, there are train tracks, and to my right, there is a discount strip mall whose only highlight is a Rainbow, clothing store.  

I turn left towards Biscayne where the food is.  I take a few steps looking down at the littered ground because by this point I am too exhausted to look anywhere else.  Suddenly, I hear a noise, and I look up to get a face full of a shirtless dude with a tribal tramp stamp doing God knows what in his hoarder’s paradise of a studio.  For some reason, this really overwhelms me.  The despair and depression of the area really get to me, and I burst into tears for a few paces.  Nothing major just a gentle sob of defeat; it was almost a laugh because everything was so absurd up to this point.  A dread rolls up to me on his bike and tells me everything will be ok.  Without stopping he rides past quietly telling me that he has the Heroin and Percocet that will make me feel better.  I laugh and say “No, thank you,” without missing a beat. 

No even 30 seconds pass when a beer can flys across my path about a foot from me.  I turn my head to see a very bloated blonde woman getting ready for bed on a couch under the awning of an abandoned building.  Upon further inspection, there was another couch with a very bloated black man preparing to do the same.  It was unclear if they were just neighbors or if this matching couch bedtime was a romance. 

I carry on, finally, getting to the corner, but not before witnessing a woman getting her bare feet massaged while waiting for the bus.  I find food.  A beef patty, and a Smart water from the gas station.  I eat while walking; it tasted fucking brilliant. 

100 minutes…

I get back to the apartment, and I have 6 messages from work.  None from my friend who hasn’t responded at all.  I decide to just cut my losses, and power through the rest of the morning at the studio.  At the very least, I could freshen up in the restroom, and sit in some air conditioning.   I walk over to the studio gates and stand in the oppressive heat for 20 minutes, no answer.  I whimper defeated, and walk back to the apartment, but not without running into the tear stained hooker, and two very confused or naive John’s trying to pick up this crying woman (first-time killers?).  I was across the street from them, and I tripped over an errant shoe in my path.  The crying woman had a rolling suitcase, I assumed there had been an altercation of some kind, and the shoe was somehow victim.  There was nothing I could do to help this person.  Nothing.  So I kept walking.

120 minutes…

Finally, someone from the building arrives and lets me in.   The front door of the apartment itself is open.  I walk in, and my friend jumps out of her room in a panic wearing only her underwear. She is full of apologies. Apologies I accept, but I can’t even hear at that moment.  I walk past her straight to the shower and get in with my pee soaked slides on.  My feet covered in blisters.  I scrub until my heart feels clean.  

When I got out, my friend had rolled a spliff.  I don’t usually partake, but after this day, I agreed to walk downstairs to the garden I covered in my genetic material earlier in the evening.  We got stoned under the nearly full moon.  We exchanged stories about what had happened.  She told me an anecdote about her gorgeous baby and said baby’s putrid old man farts.  We smoked.  As we got more stoned the night seemed exponentially ridiculous, and our laughter reached the stars before, finally, sleep.

 

Frances Eugenia