Entering the foyer behind Ysabel, my eyes swept around the lavish yet cozy lobby of my new home. I noticed the tasteful but well worn furnishings. This place was lived-in and felt very welcoming. I think I will love it here. Back home my mom decorated our house in a similiar style but all of our things were new and don’t have as many stories to tell. Well, between my two little brothers I am sure that will change.
Ysabel smiled and waved at a pretty older woman who was busily chatting away by the mailboxes. She smiled and waved back, not missing a beat in her conversation.
“That is Pia Strauss” Ysabel said to me in a quiet voice, “she lives in apartment 2c.”
I nodded and concluded, “Oh, so that means she is on our floor.”
Ysabel laughed and whispered conspiratorially, “Actually, 1A, 2B and 2C are all on the same floor. No one knows why. We have our floor all to ourselves.”
I frowned thoughtfully at that weird bit information. It is already different from home, I thought. It is going to be so easy for me to get lost if the numbering system was this crazy.
Ysabel pointed out the common room which had a cool looking foosball table, chess set, and card table. There was a bar too but I didn’t think I would put it to much use. Why drink here when I could go out on the town at one of the many clubs I read that Windenburg was famous for? She also showed me the front desk, mailboxes, laundry room and other areas, there was even a small little greenhouse area full of lush produce, sweet smelling blooms, and bright greenery.
After the small tour of the ground floor, we made our way up the stairs with my bags and upon reaching the landing I noticed a rather grumpy looking elderly woman glaring at us from a beat up couch.
She grumbled and snarled under her breath as Ysabel called out cheerily “Good evening Mrs. Goldschmidt, how are you? This is our new roommate Nyla. She has come all the way from Willow Creek to attend WADA.”
The grumbling grew even more cantankerous and all I could make out were the words damn and kids. Ysabel giggled and told me “That is Mrs. Goldschmidt, she hates everyone, except her husband, who is actually quite sweet. I love messing with her. The nicer you are the angrier she gets. Beware her broom though.” Ysabel winked and continued up another narrow flight of stairs taking my bag along with her careful to not hit the close walls with it.
Before I could ask what she meant by that we arrived at the landing to our apartment. It was decorated like the rest of the building and I noticed a few bicycles against the wall. I looked at the door bearing the small golden 2A upon it and thought, This is it. My apartment.
As we entered my gaze was met face to face with the sight that I had only seen before on a computer screen. My new apartment. It was full of personality. It was cluttered with mis-matched furniture and decor. I loved it.
A sweet and cultured voice with a posh accent to match greeted us both. It was Katja. She smiled sweetly and welcomed me into an embrace as Ysabel said, “She’s here finally! Nyla this is Kat, welcome home!”
I returned the hug and smiled, she smelled of lavender, one of the most soothing smells and she was even more beautiful in person. Katja turned to the kitchen and pulled me along stating, “I have made some dinner for you Nyla, you are probably starving. After you eat we will show you around.”
I sat quietly, taking in the new, unfamiliar surroundings. I can do this. It is nothing new to me. As I quietly reassured myself I took a few bites of the delicious food, not wanting to insult my new roomies.
While I fed my growling tummy, Ysabel turned on a small stereo sitting on the table, and a catchy, somewhat familiar, dance beat met my ears and livened us up and we listened. It made me want to dance but I was so exhausted I could barely get my meal down.
“This is a mixtape by Dj NoBias, surely you have heard of him. He is huge here in Windenburg and he lives right here in our building!”
During our conversation I heard a THUMP THUMP THUMP on the floor beneath us. Kat let out a soft sigh and Ysabel rolled her eyes at the intrusion. “That’s just grumpy Girda” said Katja, “She hates it if you even breathe too loudly.”
While we ate my new roomies gave me the rundown on the best places to eat, dance, shop, and Ysabel offered to draw a little map for my solo explorations. Tomorrow Ysabel had to work all day at the bar and Katja had a fancy luncheon with her mother and her society friends so they weren’t able to show me around just yet.
“So, Nyla are you interested in men, women or both?” asked Ysabel.
“Ysa!” exclaimed Kat “That is rude!”
I interjected with an amused laugh.“It is okay. I don’t mind.” I loved Ysabel’s bluntness, I knew I would be able to count on her for honesty and a no bullshit conversation.
“I actually am not interested in dating right now. I came here to study dance from the best and explore this beautiful city and myself. I think dating would just get in the way at the moment. But If I were to date, men would be my preference.” I smiled at Ysabel and winked at Katja to reassure her that I wasn’t offended.
“Ohh well you are in luck, if you ever decide that not dating, is boring, we know a lot of sexy guys from WADA and from the club scene here, and some of them are even straight!” I joined her in laughter at her joke. “In fact two live in our building. Just don’t try for Lukas, he is madly in Love wit our Kat. Sadly, she won’t give him the time of day.” Ysabel teased.
I noticed a soft flush on Katja’s cheeks and as she innocently chided Ysabel. “We are good friends. I am far too prissy for him so I doubt he is at all interested in a spoiled princess who is far too busy trying to be one of the best ballerinas at WADA to party with him.”
She turned to me as Ysabel gave her a knowing look.“I understand your need to put your career in dance first Nyla.” Kat added softly as almost an afterthought, “And I would of course give him the time if he asked. I would be quite rude of me if I didn’t.”
Katja picked up her fork and continued eating as Ysabel grinned at me and mouthed, “Clueless.”
After a few more minutes of conversation we finished dinner. I already felt comfortable with these girls. Katja was sweet and focused on dancing just like me. I knew she would be great for dance advice and would be a great person to show me the ins and outs at WADA. And Ysabel was funny, honest, and loved to party. I knew she would be great to tell me the hard truths and a fountain of knowledge on the hottest places to party. I may not be willing to date but I definitely wanted to party. I loved to dance. I never felt more free than when I was dancing.
After we cleaned up our plates the girls showed me around our apartment. It was small but full of so much personality. I couldn’t wait to add my own touch.
Ysabel’s room was bright and welcoming. there was so much paint everywhere, She may enjoy dancing but you could tell painting was her passion.
Kat’s room was exactly what I thought it would be, fit for a queen.
The girl’s took me to my room and as Ysabel stepped through the door she said to me “Your room is smaller but it has its own bathroom through that door over there.” she pointed to a door located straight across from the entrance to my new room.
“Kat used to use this one while I had the other but we decided since your room is smaller it is only fair we share the smaller bathroom while you have the luxury of the bigger one. I will let you get settled in. And I will be sure to leave you a map of where you should visit tomorrow before I head to work.” she stepped through the door and turned to say, “Oh, and make sure you stop by the bar. Goodnight Nyla and welcome to Windenburg.” With that she closed the door behind her and I turned to take in my new room.
I was so tired before but now I had a renewed energy. I hated to leave things unfinished so it was time to get my room in order. I made my way to my bag and set to work.
-Goldschmidts Apt. 1A-
Girda Goldschmidt hated everyone.
More specifically, she hated all the loud and obnoxious artsy kids that lived in her building.
They were always listening to that noise they called music. Or doing those absurd movements that they said was dancing but really they looked like they were having an apoplectic fit.
She hated their stupid, ridiculous clothes.
She hated their hideous hair.
She most especially hated their dumb, happy faces.
Straining her ears Girda heard the very faint notes of that awful dance music the girls above loved to listen to.Picking up her trusty broom she stepped on her small stool and decided to teach those hooligans a lesson.
As she thumped on the ceiling above her she grumbled under her breath.
How dare those kids listen to that awful noise at this time of night. Or any time for that matter!
She heard the door open behind her as her husband Georg entered the apartment from his nightly gardening excursion.
“Girda love, what are you doing? Give it a rest for tonight.” Georg smiled up at her and quickly added “I don’t want you to strain yourself.” He didn’t want an argument. His wife had quite a temper and he didn’t want her to turn her ire on him. He was starving and he knew if they began arguing he would have to hear her incessant nagging throughout the meal.
“There is another one! Another on of those damn dance kids! I hate them all.”
He chided softly, “I know love. They are the bane of your existence but let’s have dinner and not let them ruin our evening . How about we have dinner on the balcony. It is such a beautiful evening. And I know you love the smell of the night blossoms.”
She begrudgingly agreed and helped him take their plates to the outside dining table.
They talked of his newest plants and blooms, the meal that she made for them following his recipe perfectly, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Windenburg. The evening with his wife was one of his favorite times. It was when he could get her to forget about the little things that annoyed her and really enjoy her company just like when they were kids. Nowadays she was increasingly cantankerous and it was a struggle for him to glimpse that girl that he fell in love with so long ago.
After cleaning their plates he gave her a soft kiss and she smiled brightly at him before stepping back inside their apartment resuming her grumbles directed at the ceiling above, where if one listened very hard and held their breath they could make out an intermittent scraping sound.
“Those damn dance kids!”
Georg sighed. It was going to be a long night.
The first thing I unpacked was my laptop, of course. I plugged it up and waited for it to charge a bit so I could power it on. I plugged my cellphone into the outlet, it had died a while ago, and selected the number and waited for the call to connect.
If this wasn’t the first call I made I wouldn’t make it to see tomorrow. After the second ring the call was picked up and a young, energetic voice said, “Merchant-Otero residence! What do ya want?”
I smiled at the sound of my little brother Emerson’s voice and said in my best faux-angry voice, “I am telling mom you are being rude to callers brat!” Delighted giggles erupted on the other end, “I knew it was you Ny! Caller ID!”
“Sure, sure. Put mom on the phone before she worries herself to death.”
As I heard him bumbling noisily through the house with the cordless, I thought about how much of a change this move was for everyone. It had only been a day and I already greatly missed him and the rest of my family.
I heard him say that it was me and after a bit of a scuffle I heard the soft, loving voice that I missed so much say,“Sweetheart.”
I smiled so hard and felt tears well up, I was so embarrassing. “Momma.”
After I had spoken to my mom, my brothers, and my step-father, Trever I felt much better. I knew that I could always call home and Hailey could help ease any anxiety, only a mom could do that.
My laptop powered on and I entered the WiFi password that Ysabel had given me. It was time to make the second most important phone call. I opened SimSkype and dialed. Boop Boop beboop.
Once the camera connected I was greeted by the biggest smile from my best friend, Jade.
“Ny! How is it in Windenburg?!” She shouted at me.
She was always so exuberant and loud, I chuckled,“It is beautiful so far and my roommates are so great. I can tell we will be great friends” I answered.
“Well you better not replace me.”
I assured her,“That will never happen, of course.”
“You’re right. No one can replace me.” she laughed and we chatted for a few minutes. I had her keep me company while I began to unpack. She gave me advice and chatted with me about the happenings I had missed already.
An hour later my room was finally finished and I was more than ready for bed. It was a relief to have everything settled. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep until everything was unpacked and in its proper place. I signed off with Jade and surveyed my room. It was definitely my room now.
I headed to my own bathroom and ran a warm bath. I almost fell asleep once or twice.
After I put my pj’s on I peeled back the sheets on my new bed and slid in . I let out a soft contented sigh and headed off to dreamland. I had a busy day of exploring tomorrow.