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Enemies by Simon Jacobs


Not once in our lives have we ever been city people. “You’ll love it,” the agent said to us, “It’s the penthouse. Lots of studio space.”
     We’ve been in this apartment almost two months now. It’s the longest we’ve ever been anywhere. We don’t know how to populate these spaces, our landing strip of a living room.
     One day I find you standing naked with your arms outstretched in front of the wall-sized window that looks out over everything.
     The sun plays over your knobby shoulder. When I come up and touch it, you scream and I’m suddenly worried the glass won’t hold anything in or out. “Why are you standing like that?”
     “Relax,” you say. “We’re too high up for anyone to see me.”
     “Have you been eating?” Even I can tell you’re much too skinny.
     You gesture to the birds pecking at the sill outside. “They need it more than I do.”
     When we finally do go out, I drown the bathroom attendant in the sink while you send back the food. His shoes kick and scuff the varnished wood of the bathroom door. Your earrings really light up your face but I only know one thing to do when someone sneaks up behind me.
     I stare out the window at the city the whole way home and wonder which of us is worse adjusted.
     When the cab lets us off at the curb the driver keeps his palm out for a second too long after I’ve paid him and I instinctively break one of his fingers. He squeals, and as he hauls off you say, “See. This is exactly why we can’t go anywhere.”
     We walk the remaining five blocks to our apartment. I watch your legs; you make sure to avoid getting too close to the storefronts, the edge of the sidewalk. Actually by the time our building creeps into view, we’re practically running.
     I don’t tell you about the bathroom attendant until a few nights later, when we’re in bed under our giant window.
     You stare up at the dark shapes crossing over the moon. “We have to move again.”
     “No we don’t. No one saw anything.”
     “They’re going to find us.”
     I kiss the side of your head. “They won’t.”
     “You always say that. And then they always do.”
     It’s true. I always say that. I remember the teary glare of the cab driver, the lingering glance of the maitre d’, the squint of the storekeeper when I buy our groceries once a week. I pull you into my neck. You nibble a little. “No one is looking for us,” I say. “We’re safe here.”
     At length we agree to wait it out. No one comes, but as time passes our window starts to feel more and more like an eye in rather than out.
     Meanwhile, the birds that come by and land on the sill are getting bigger every single day.
     
     
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Simon Jacobs is a fitful young writer from Ohio. He curates the Safety Pin Review – a wearable medium for work of less than 30 words – and may be found here. He dreams of one day furnishing a small place of his own.