God damn this is a messy oven. And toxic, too. My eyes are burning and my nose is running. I yank off the gloves and leave the kitchen. The smell of oven cleaner about near knocks the breath and air out of me. I go into the empty living room and open the window and inhale the New York air as fast as I can.
I hear a knock on the door and go to peer out the peep hole again. Ugh Crazy Lady. I sigh and open the door. “Hey,” I say. She has her dogs on a leash and they lick their chops and it unsettles me. There is something about these dogs that has always made me uneasy, so I am definitely NOT going to miss these dogs when I am gone. “Did you find the blankets?” she asks. Shoot, need to stall. Need to stall. “What?” I ask. “Blankets. For the animals, you said you’d check…” she says and again she peers into my empty apartment. “Oh I am cleaning the oven. Haven’t had time,” I say. “You cook?” she asks incredulously.
Surely, in the past three years she must have seen me carry bags of sundries home from the organic market, Gristedes and/or Fresh Direct deliveries. She seems to have observed EVERYTHING else about me. “Yes, and I bake too – hence the messy oven,” I snap and as the Super comes into the building from the front door and gives me a look.
I shut the door and pull the gloves back on and continue cleaning the oven and then move onto the fridge. From there I give the bathroom a good scrub down and sweep the floor. I am ready for the Super to give a once over and then hand in my keys. I yank the gloves off and gather the last bits of trash and then take the garbage to the receptacles alongside the building. I come back into the building and ring the Super’s bell. He opens immediately. “I’m ready for you to inspect the apartment and give back the keys,” I say. OMG. I am starting to get nostalgic. He nods and shuts the door. We take the elevator one floor up and go back into my apartment. I hang out in the living room while he goes from room to room, inspecting. He goes into the kitchen. I can hear him opening the cupboards, fridge and oven.
He comes back, a smile on his face and shakes his head. “That fridge looks brand new on the inside,” he says, clearly impressed. I nod. “So, here the keys,” I say and hand them to him. I open the hall closet and pull on my backpack filled with cleaning supplies and then gather my dry cleaning.
We walk out together and onto the sidewalk. “Well, if you come back this way – say hello,” he says. I nod. He gives me a hug, which is very sweet. And I head to the A train. I feel a rebirth coming and on and I don't plan on coming back.