Jenna picked me up outside the domestic terminal in her little VW with the roof down and we took the freeway with Abba blasting on the radio. I was supposed to get here the week before, but as I arrived at the airport the person at the counter told me my card had been declined so unless I was able to pay the full tickets in cash I wasn’t flying that day. I had to go back to the city and stay on a friend’s couch until I booked another ticket for three days after. It is kind of a weird feeling to go to the airport but return the same day without leaving. Your mind is set on the idea that you’re gonna go up in the air and arrive a few hours later in a different city. The ride back to the very place you already left in your mind feels like a daydream.
We arrived at the house a bit after noon. Alex had moved out since the last time I was here and Tanner had taken her room, the pink room. The living room was filled with boxes of clothes and books and other random things. In the corridor by the front door there were three things lined up like they were on display, the back of a broken chair, a tiny ironing board – the one used for the sleeves of shirts – and a little green television on a marble stand. The walls of the apartment were light blue and besides the general mess the place hadn’t changed much. Just slightly more worn. Jenna and Tanner were leaving campus and moving into a cute little two bedroom near the ocean. We drove there at the end of the day. They gave me a tour and then sat down on an off-white sofa. I sat across from them and we exchanged small talk before they made me understand I wasn’t gonna stay with them.
These past few days D’Angelo had been taking care of a friend’s dog. It looked like some kind of poodle and chihuahua mix. He was carrying this big heavy pot of paint that he was gonna take to Emily’s new place. She had just gotten the keys and wanted to paint every wall in a different color : bright red, sky blue, yellow and turquoise. I offered to help, we all sat in her BMW and the dog sat on D’Angelo’s knees. We parked in the lot in front of the building. It was the cruising spot of the neighborhood but it was still pretty quiet this early in the evening. We started painting the first wall. It was the turquoise one. D’Angelo got bored so we decided to go to a bar. Emily was excited because she’d heard about this place that does karaoke and they also ask you for a password at the door. We had a few drinks then went to a club. When we got home we did some more painting and we got tired. We all laid down on the king bed in Emily’s room. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
– Antoine Donzeaud, September 2018