The 38th Floor

She liked getting to work early. There was something about the peaceful elevator ride to the 38th floor that she loved. Maybe it was the view of the city. It could have been the multitude of sunrises she experienced. Perhaps it was the quiet before the storm. She knew by the time she stepped off the elevator, triggered the light sensors and brewed her first cup of coffee it was only a matter of minutes before the chaos of her busy work life would begin. 

Before she left for work in the mornings she made sure to double check herself in the full length mirror. She had nightmares of panty lines, stray lint and well hidden stains or tears in her impeccable clothes. She never wore a shoe that had even a slight flaw. Her hair was the perfect shade of brown. She paid a lot of money for her stylist to create this shade just for her. Her face was perfectly powdered, lips lined filled with the perfect shade of red plum and her shadow evenly applied on each lid. Her eye lashes were lengthened and water proofed, not that she ever cried but she had gotten something in her eye once causing agitation which led to her rubbing it and triggered a watery reaction in her eye. Needless to say she began purchasing waterproof mascara. She also has two sets of identical makeup for home and office. 

She intentionally selected the 38th floor of this building for her office. It held a special meaning to her. Thirty-eight was the number of times she remembered being called trash by Roberta when they were eleven. Before she could call her that a thirty ninth time, she moved to a different neighborhood. Her dad lost his job and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. They moved in with an elderly aunt in a rough neighborhood. Her mother told her all of this much later. At the time she only told her that a bitch named Karma had gotten Roberta’s family. For years after that she thought Karma was the girlfriend of they guy who sold handmade cigarettes on the corner. 

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Hillside

Where did I live when I was 12? Hillside baby!!! You know it!

I still smile when I think of my childhood home. It was truly the best of times and the worst of times.

Hillside Terrace was an apartment complex in the heart of Dallas. You see, Dallas is broken up into north, south, east, west, and some other places like Oak Cliff and Arlington Park which are really just Dallas but it makes them feel special and set a part to have those names. I lived, grew up and experienced life in the heart of Dallas. It’s currently known as the medical district.

Hillside. This was the place where the term, “move you lose it’s the Hillside rules” was birthed. It was neighbors. It was friends. It was summers swimming in the pools. It was walking to school together. I rode the bus all over Dallas. My brothers and I were “free range” kids. It was family. I mean the literally and figuratively. Various cousins lived there throughout the years. Friends became so close we felt like relatives.

This was the place where my brothers learned to break dance on the top of the table they broke while fighting. This was the place where my cousin fell off of a balcony. Talk about a miracle. This was where I had my first real fight. His name was Pookie. I held my own. This was also the place of my first kiss. He leaned in and barely brushed my lips then ran like he was trying to win an Olympic medal. I’ll keep his name to myself.

I can’t limit my memories to the age of 12. They all swirl around in my head. We lived there for about ten years. In the end it went from a glorious place to roam and feel free to a place I feared. The drug trade pushed us out or propelled us on depending on how you view things.

Hillside was some of the best times of my life.