Part 7: I think the lights need to be either changed or tightened.

The roof deck was the first thing David showed us when Nailz and I came down to see the apartment.

This was two years ago, and technically, before Nailz was officially Nailz.

We came down to the area on a whim- on the promise of a great apartment with breathtaking views from the deck that had been advertised in the City Paper. We came because the conversation with Barbara was interesting and intriguing- mildly amusing for a Maine boy in the big city looking for a fresh, new place to set up shop.

The deck had us sold. Completely. The rest of the apartment could be entirely made of asphalt and I think we'd be willing to make it work. I mean, the view was pretty amazing then, and it's been a real joy to watch it grow in front of our eyes- you know, like a child growing up. That kind of amazing. Not tourist amazing. No. That's bush league and I'd like to think we're better than that. More like nurturing amazing. Amazing in a transitioning sort of way.


The roof deck is our own island, just off the coast of Center City. It is on the roof- only accessible by the black spiral stairs that get a little slick when it rains. Just ask Todd or for that matter, anyone who has used them in flip flops on an especially soggy evening. But the somewhat dangerous, somewhat aesthetically pleasing, somewhat pretty cool spiral stairs are the only way onto the roof deck. The deck is old and wooden- rogue boards splintering up in areas and slightly decaying in others. At first, you think that the chances of the whole deck sliding off the ever so gradual slope of the roof isn't all that much of a long shot. But no, the deck isn't going anywhere.

No, really.

Sometimes it just feels that way.

In the beginning, it was just Big up there. Big was at the place first and because of the lack of furniture, the deck was where he spent most of his time. A week or so later, when I came down- not really contributing anything to the communal seating situation either, I joined Big up on the deck. That is where we spent most of the mornings, late afternoons, evenings, and nights through the month of September. Unless important business needed to be tended too. Then we'd use the office- a shelf laying on top of the mini fridge serving as the desk and a exercise ball willing to be negotiated as the chair. Big and I- we were just a couple of crazy bastards really big city living for a little bit of time.

Then Nailz came and then there were three of us up on the roof deck.

Roof decks in the city attract crowds and ours attracted some of the best. Even on a rainy Fourth or on a chilly spring night. Even in the winter (not really) and in the middle of the dog days of summer (especially not.)

It was good fun- a real genuine parade of the finest quality sportsmen, drinkers, hustlers, computer geeks, lab coats, foxy ladies, folks men, ax men and circus freaks that you could ever find on this side of the Schuylkill.

Now Nailz is gone.

Big has found other decks- other spacial areas to lounge.

Up on the deck, it's down to just one again.

When roommates leave, you notice when you need to use the bathroom and you don't have to wait or when there's fewer condiments in the fridge. But when you really notice roommates are gone, are during the leisure moments.

That's when you miss the company, not just the roommates. That's when you miss the situation, not just the happenings.

But it's also when you run down stairs, blast the Police, throw back a Shipyard Summer and seriously contemplate whether tonite is an air conditioning night or a windows open night.

The tough decisions always ruin the fun.

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