Above the Pizza Shop

JB moved into his new apartment today, just above a pizza shop I’ve never seen a single customer at, but looking as charming and inviting as when I first recall seeing it tucked in place on the corner across from the small town cemetery. He was eager to wave me up, stretched out over the guardrail of his living room balcony with one hand strapped to the stucco wall, the other occupied with a Heineken.

I skipped up several steps at a time to the top floor, thinking briefly of the foundation I was so lazily throwing my weight around on and its initial construction several centuries before our country even existed, then climbed on a bit more gracefully.

There was no door to his loft, as the stairs continue skyward until the wooden rails edge right into his living room. The layout is sprawling with an A-frame style ceiling running the length of the apartment, and at the far end are two double doors that swing outward to reveal a valley view of Saint Antonin’s mountains. A ladder was braced against one of the girthy beams designating the lofted bedroom encased with rails.

He and Alex were strewn with languid limbs about the royal blue plush armchair and matching loveseat settled into the middle of the common area. It’s the only furniture JB owns besides his mattress, sans bed frame, which belonged to his father before he passed. With 9 brothers and sisters, distribution was thin.

There were candles lit throughout the room and a well-spent bottle of red wine between them, collecting ashy sediment from the cigarettes they smoked in their seats. They had taken the meager time to carry over only the essentials to stock the kitchen – three wine glasses, a case of beer, and the paper bag of leftover chocolate croissants swimming in flakes from this morning’s breakfast.

JB shifted to make room as I folded into place and held out my glass in celebration – “to new beginnings.”

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