I loved my new apartment from the first moment I saw it. In fact, I loved my new life that began with this new apartment. It wasn’t that it was a big, new, fancy apartment… it was a small, old, cosy apartment, and one of the most cosy things about it was that it was mine, and mine alone. After three years sharing life and home with Larry Morrow, of which the only decent part was the first half-year, I was renewed and invigorated by his absence from my life. I just turned twenty-nine, and it felt good to put my nametag on my mailbox downstairs. Virginia Madison looked so good to me. Larry had always insisted on calling me Ginger, even though I often told him how much I hated it. Now I’m Virginia, and that’s it!

When I picked up two new clients, it provided me with the income to get a place of my own. I’m a freelance typist, and I’ve been making a decent living transcribing material for a couple of lawyers when they audio-record their clients’ depositions. It’s boring work, but it’s fairly steady and it pays pretty well, but not well enough for me to get my own place. When one of the lawyers sent me Mrs. Clarkson, it was a big help. She’s writing her memoirs with a dictating machine, and I’m transcribing it for her. She’ll pay better than the lawyers do, and the work might not be nearly so boring. Usually, I don’t even really read the stuff I type for the lawyers ‘cause it’s rarely interesting… except when it’s a divorce case and I see what the plaintiffs are blaming on their spouses.

Mrs. Clarkson’s stuff is probably going to be interesting. The lawyer who referred her to me said she was hot stuff when she was young, and if it’s true, it might be interesting to read her memoirs. She was a sixties party girl, I guess. It’s a ‘tell all’ book I’m told, and it’s going to be quite something to hear her sixty-seven-year-old voice coming from the machine, describing in graphic detail some of her sexual exploits. She’s a wealthy dowager now because of the fortunes each of her three husbands left her. I’ll bet each of them died with great big smiles on their faces.

The thing that most convinced me to choose this apartment was the courtyard. It has a real courtyard, with an arched entrance that a small car could pass through. When this place was built, cars were rare, and horse-carriages were narrow old things, but now the entrance is closed off with a beautiful wrought-iron fence and an elegant gate that only we tenants can open. I can go through the main entrance if I choose, but I prefer to go through the courtyard and up the outside steps to my third floor paradise. There’s a small garden in the courtyard, with a little fountain that keeps the flowers fresh, and a bench nearby. It’s like a private mini park.


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