Ronnie and I are polar opposites like a walking yin and yang. I am the dreamer who sees the mystical potential of thoughts and desires in the everyday fluttering of feet on concrete as trees sway and clouds move to the wind. She is the realist. Dreams are good, but there are necessary steps to take to realize that dream on smooth, well prepared paths. There are times where being on opposite sides of the spectrum is a volatile mix—a lit match falling into a puddle of gasoline. Today was one of those times. Our lease on our apartment will soon end, and we need to find another place as soon as possible. I hate living on the Southside, and we took this place because they were the only apartment who approved us quickly so we could get out of Lincoln, NE. Indy’s Southside is too Evangelical, too white, too conservative, and too bland. The area of town is as unimaginative and complacent as a casserole. There is no artistic culture, but plenty of camo, American and Confederate flags, and Trump/Pence bumper stickers or signs.
I’ve lived in downtown before I went back on the road, and the prices are affordable. Rent is comparable to the rent we pay on the Southside, but in better condition. Besides that, we would be near our favorite coffee shops and art shows, and the yearly art fair on Talbot St. along with the IMAF (Indianapolis Music and Art Fair) hosted by Redeemer Presbyterian Church. The church provides locally brewed beer, and the priests across the street at Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church will join in the festivities. With their black robes and long beards, the Orthodox priests blend into the crowd. We had an appointment with an apartment this morning in that neighborhood. Everything about the apartment sparked an overwhelming joy brimming over my being. The building was from the turn of the twentieth century but modernized, the central library was down the street, Thirsty Scholar a few blocks away, the trees around the vintage houses, the lights in the apartment, the gas stove, the refreshed smell of the apartment’s age, and the street view had me dancing and clapping like the queen we all know I am. I wanted the apartment there and now. Ronnie wanted to think about it and look at other apartments. I maintained a cool composure, but I was upset. I didn’t let it out until we got in our van and drove to Thirsty Scholar.
Ronnie began the conversation, “What is wrong with you?”
“I want that apartment.”
“If we filled out the application now, we would have to come up with more money because we have to pay our landlord on top of the down payment for the new apartment. We can’t do it.”
“Can’t do it,” I sniffed, “You’re standing in the way of what I want.”
“I understand you don’t want to live on the Southside. I don’t want to live on the Southside either. I hate it just like you, but if we fill out the application now we won’t have the money, and we’ll be stuck on the Southside with no place to go. We need the money to do this.”
“Money is a fleeting thing, and I’m not bound by it. Worse comes to worse, I can pack up what I can in my rucksack and start walking.”
“Fuck you! You’re going to leave me?!”
“No, you’re included in my rucksack vision.”
“If we did it that way, there is no coming back. We have to play this smart so we can have what we want. Now can we go in to Thirsty Scholar, have some coffee, and have a good fucking time?” We couldn’t have timed our entry any better. Once we got inside and ordered our coffee it began rain.
Because of the weather, Thirsty Scholar had a few people speckled about the dining area. The wooden tables by the window were open, and both Ronnie and I enjoy those seats. Against the window there is a bench attached to the wall with little pillows for style and comfort, and on the other side of the tables are little vintage chairs appearing to be fragile to the touch but are sturdy. Ronnie took the bench, and I took the chair. My ass is planted firmly on the chair, and flattened by the unmoving metal and wood. As I type out the sketches on my phone, I notice the sky darken and the street lights come on to guide drivers through blinding rain. The brown luminescence is highlighted by the purple overtones as the lightning flashes, and windows shake from the following, booming thunder. Across the street, at Herron High School, the trees are brought low by the heavy water in a reverential bow giving thanks to the falling rain. The musty smell of nitrogen in the air mixing with the earthy scent of the coffee grounds is a natural incense cultivating complete realization of the moment. Everything is captured, and the golden eternity is apprehended as I hear everything in the bar. The music selection is an eclectic blend of Americana and soul. A hymn for downtown. Marvin Gaye praying with a beat twang. Besides the music, there is muffled conversations between the baristas and patrons at the bar, couples and friends discussing ideas, measuring life with each swig of coffee, bent over as in prayer straining their ears to gather secret knowledge. Coffee spoons and cups clink together humming a tune like singing bowls calling the mind to meditation. Enlightenment is coming and will arrive with the next exhale.
Ronnie is going over the floor plans just in case we decide on the apartment. She draws out the diagrams to make plans for the space like an architect. She has a real talent for interior decorating, and she knows how to optimize any space. She also takes time to show me the pictures of the other apartment we’re going to look at this Thursday on Meridian. The apartment is considerably cheaper and has bay windows which is something she must have. With all my wants, I momentarily forgot what she favors in a home. I told her that I changed my mind about the apartment downtown, and apologized for letting my urgency take over and behave like an ass. Ronnie told me the reason for the tension had to do with us being completely opposite, “You being a dreamer pulls me out of my realism to understand how free I am to follow my dreams.”
“And you being a realist puts my dreams in perspective by taking necessary steps to make my dreams real.” In that moment, I realized that we needed each other, and I told her so. The need is not based on codependency, but on actual growth. We bring balance to each other. Granted, I think we would still grow as people, but the evolution would be a slower process. She is grace and progress, and my head bows to her life affirming nature.