Holaaaa Chiqui,

I’m late in writing again. Sorry about that. You’re getting hipper by the day and I, come fall, may find myself priced out. 1100+ days between us and many of my worries are the same. I wonder at the bags beneath my eyes, my ill-fitting clothes and my adequacy. We are still a lop-sided pair.

On Saturday morning, the upstairs tenants are fucking away. I blast meditation music and laugh. This is the longest I’ve ever spent in any one place and I know things now: how to fix a toilet, the best time of day for a sun-drenched nap, the way that woman sometimes screams jooooodeeeeer. I know how to keep the wind out–most of it, at least. I know when my wall-mates change, their sleeping habits and favorite songs.

Down on the street, however, I’m having trouble getting used to the new additions: yellow lights, frequent vocal fry. Come on, let’s get whoppers, a Kelly or a Hannah says. I’m aware that I may be part of this problem, OK? So you don’t need to say anything about it. The newsman is still there every morning at least, and likely long before I think of opening my eyes.

Things change, of course, and many of them for the better. Now, I work in a place where people are familiar to me. They worry about money and they wash their own clothing. Last week, a child told a story about the gorillas living in her grandparents’ garage–no one questioned the verity of this, and the presentation moved smoothly along. Well, as long as they are familiar gorillas, of course it is OK to approach them.

Tirso’s blooms are perennial but I mostly forget about them in the winter. Their openings and closings are measured, unlike mine. This is something that I am working on. Many are the mornings, afternoons, evenings that I have crossed this part of you. Sadly, happily, alone, accompanied, barely there. Today I bought a bunch of leaves and a bouquet of purple and white flowers. I don’t know their genera. I was also carrying a bag of groceries and a two-foot tall calathea.

“¿Puedes con todo?” the attendant asked me. “Can you handle everything?”

I think so. If you could just hand me the plant…”

On mornings like this one, it is a privilege to handle all of this.

Happy 3rd anniversary, Madrid. It is good to really see you again.

Love,

Seo

Dear Amateur Choir,

This is a confession.

I know. Here, Halloween is a free for all. On November 1st, All Saints’ Day, you’re meant to lay flowers and prayers at the feet of those who have passed. Had you no relatives to honor?

At 11PM, a zombie on the metro asked me where I was going. Home, I said, and into my bed. I’ve been on my feet for fourteen hours and I feel like I’m dead.

Nighttime is a ritual and my sleep precious, Amateur Choir. I’m an adult now, I guess. Who are you? I, like you, like to sing. I love Madonna, too, and even have a few GaGa dance routines. I get it. Early youth is a stupid, wonderful time. Those people you met six whiskeys in really do feel like they might be your best friends. It’s all so new and, oh my god, they’re down to take Jager shots too!?

But I have to tell you, Amateur Choir, I have to tell you that 5 AM is just not the appropriate time for a Lady Marmalade singalong. I try to be fair, you know. I suspect I’ve woken you up myself once or twice. I know for sure that I stopped the party that night I slammed the bathroom door and screamed “fucking assholes,” still half-asleep and full of rage. It was a Tuesday, after all. So I let you carry on on Halloween, Amateur Choir, because it was a holiday. I sacrificed my sanity for your fun. Did you hear me? I spoke out loud a few times: Please stop, you insufferable cokeheads. Go to sleeeeppp. I tried to drown you out with the “Chillout” playlist on Spotify, but Sam Beam singing “Time After Time” into my ears just made me feel like sticking my head into a pot of sardines.

I guess you finally passed out around 7:00. The last song I heard was “Oh Happy Day,” for the second time. Props to you, Amateur Choir, for living up to your name.

The confession: it was me, at 9 AM, holding my phone up to the wall, playing M Clan’s “Hasta la vista Rock ‘n’ Roll” and then “Bodak Yellow” and then “Daddy I’m Fine” (variety is the spice of life). I heard banging and imagined you all rolling hungover out of bed into a massive pile of pipa shells. And yes, Amateur Choir, I felt good about it. I danced along to the music with my middle finger in the air and a smile on my face that felt delicious. I felt truly vindictive. Who knew?

Thank you for showing me a side of myself I didn’t know I had.

Love,

The woman on the other side of the wall