Escape To An Ad Hoc Home
Thirty years ago, I stepped off an Amtrak train into the heat and stench（[sten(t)?] n. 恶臭；臭气）of New York's Penn Station clutching（vt. [kl?t?] 抓住；紧握） an oversize trash bag full of my clothes. I had $1, 000─my life savings─tucked （vt. 卷起；挤进）into the front pocket of my bluejeans, and a piece of paper with an address scrawled on it in my back pocket: 228 Sullivan St.
I had never laid eyes on the apartment in an improbably pink building that I was about to call home for the next three months. My impulsive decision to leave Boston and move to Manhattan came for complicated reasons: a new love affair, the hope of learning how to become a writer and some romantic vision shaped by the Saturday-matinee Doris Day movies of my childhood. Also, like many people who move away from home, I was escaping. A few months earlier, my only sibling（['s?bl??] n. 兄弟姊妹；民族成员）, Skip, had died in a household accident and I had spent all the time since futilely （徒然地）trying to comfort my parents. I was 25 years old, and the thought of living in that grief even one minute more was too much for me to imagine. Here, among the piles of trash that lined the street and the smell of falafels[f?'l?fl] 沙拉三明治and exhaust, I thought I might take refuge.
Heather, the woman subletting the apartment to me, was a dancer, blonde and lithe with Betty Boop eyes. She was moving across town to live with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. Eager to start her own new life, she showed me the dishes and cups─there were two of each─her coffeepot, which involved boiling water and pouring it through what appeared to be a sock, and all of the other things that made this Heather's home. I thought longingly of my Mr. Coffee tucked away in storage, my Farberware pans and Marimekko comforter. Heather gave me a quick tour of the neighborhood─where to buy coffee and a newspaper, where to go for a drink. Then she was gone. I sat on the bed, a door on top of two sawhorses n. 锯木架and topped with foam, and wondered what to do next. I grew up in a family that didn't move. My mother still lives in the house where she was born 81 years ago. All of her siblings lived and died within a 5-mile radius of that house. Even though I had lived away, I had never stopped thinking of it as my home, too. But now, alone in a new city in someone else's home, I felt less tethered, unsure.
The next morning, I made coffee in Heather's coffee pot and drank it out of her cracked mug. I hung a map of the neighborhood on the refrigerator door with her magnet and wrote lists with her pencils. Soon I could not remember the exact shade of orange on that packed-away comforter. In fact, my old belongings all grew blurry adj. 模糊的；污脏的；不清楚的and dull.
Eventually, Heather returned and I moved to another sublet（n. 转租的房屋 [s?b'let] , a slightly larger apartment in Chelsea. Outside on 21st Street, Tara handed me the keys, advised me to keep the gate on the window locked so burglars didn't come up the fire escape and into the apartment. Then she