Tarquin at Home

The damn window was creaking again. It was loose in its frame, and hit the sill with an eeer-clap every time the wind blew.  Tarquin sat up on his cot and, the wool blanket falling into his waist, he shivered in the clammy dark.  He looked around his small apartment, everything visible from any vantage point, and frowned.  He longed for the warm feather bed of his childhood home, but it was a lifetime away.

He lay back down and pulled the blanket back to his chin.  The wool was damp and smelled musty, just like everything else in the drafty apartment.  Tarquin closed his eyes.  Tried to will away the creaking window and the dripping faucet.  He tried not to imagine that mold was inching along the painted cinderblock wall of his room.  He squeezed his eyes tightly and shivered.

Tarquin supposed that the apartment was a perfect avatar of his pride.  Initially, the apartment had been his freedom, a catharsis from the ties that bound him and kept him from being truly happy.  The eighth-floor efficiency was only place he could afford on his own, but it was finally his own money.  But then the apartment was his limitations, a single room with a foldaway cot and a toilet.  It was like a cell, or a tomb.  Pride before the fall.

There was a scurrying under his cot and along the far wall.  Tarquin thought about setting traps, but worried that he’d end up stepping in them himself—there was only so much floor space in the apartment—besides, he decided it was wrong to kill something that was just trying to make it.  Tarquin was just trying to make it.

Another night that Tarquin would cry himself to sleep.

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