Elana Elisa’s husband is known around these parts as “Hubby.” I’ve never heard him referred to by a name. She calls him Hubby; other people usually call him “Elana’s husband” or “The Hubs.” When they speak to him face-to-face, I don’t know what they say. “Hey, you?” Never heard a name.
He doesn’t talk a lot or show up much in any of the building’s common areas. Not that he seems unfriendly. He has a gentle, polite air, a small but genuine smile. He’s middle-aged and balding. His bald spot is pink-white. It reminds me in a weird way of an atmospheric storm on a planet, like the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.
He likes to wear socks with sandals, and knee-length shorts and untucked button-down shirts. He has a brown and gray chevron mustache. I don’t know what he does for a living, or if he’s retired or unemployed.
John, from Apartment 3c, can always get the elevator at Kilter Street Manor Apartments to work for him. It’s reluctant or uncooperative for everyone else, but not for him. Maybe because he has a sunny disposition. He’s always smiling, but somehow without seeming creepy.
He’s an event planner who specializes in themed parties. Zeb also regularly consults with him about the apartment building’s communal get-togethers; he’s good at stretching a limited budget.
Some people doubt that he can be a good event planner, because he is legally blind. But he does well.
As for his appearance: he’s got a medium build and medium height, pale skin and thick brown hair. Nothing about his looks is really remarkable, except for his smile. Which again, isn’t creepy, though it does sometimes make people wonder what there is to smile about so much. Whatever it is, he knows the secret.
Gilbert Sullivan Frisch, who lives in Apartment 2a, doesn’t like Gilbert & Sullivan’s music, though his adopted parents do, very much. He turned up in their living room, as a baby, no one knows from where. A recording of The Pirates of Penzance was playing at the time.
He likes to go by G.S. Frisch. Or Gil, call him Gil. Not Gilbert, or Sully.
Gil is a tall, balding man with a pleasant, good-looking face and a peaches and cream complexion. He’s in his mid to late 30s. The first impression he gives is of a man who’s nice but not particularly confident.
He currently works as a security guard at the City Folk Art Museum. He used to be a social worker.
Sigrid isn’t one to open up easily or speak much about her childhood, but something she told me about growing up and taking care of her unwell mother inspired this story: When Linda Sketched the Dead.
Hank and Ivy are married and share many interests, so they decided to combine their profile page. They’re independent and intertwined, mapping out a shared life of beauty, love and nerdy pursuits.
Both are in their early 30s. Ivy is ginger-haired and comes from a mixed Irish-American and Italian-American background. Hank has dark, curly hair that he sometimes dyes blue, and he’s African-American. Both he and Ivy work with computers; one of their passions is making computer games. They also love gardening, wearing costumes, and playing board games and capture the flag. They’re very big on role-playing of all sorts, and arguing about fictional characters at mealtimes and in the shower.
Currently, Ivy is pregnant.
Some of their differences:
Hank has a stronger tendency to get stressed out and be pessimistic. Ivy is more prone to flights of fantasy, with amazing ideas as a result, though not all of them can be effected within the limitations of this world.
They find it difficult to stay angry or annoyed with each other. Certain disputes they’ve resolved through intense board game competition. Even when they disagree, they speak to each other from a loving place – no malice or viciousness or contempt. They see themselves as being on a team: the two of them vs. whatever the world tries to throw at them.
Throughout October, Zeb asked Kilter Street Manor residents to write their worst fear and leave it in a basket in the mailroom. Everyone chose to do it anonymously, and most people typed up their notes. Now Zeb has tacked the notes up on the mailroom bulletin board, crowding out the takeout menus and the polaroid photos of bare tree branches Mrs. Selby has taken to sharing.
Here are the worst fears, the day after Halloween 2015
The elevator’s acting up again, so I take the stairs to my attic studio. On the third floor, I bump into Elana Elisa.
She puts a hand on my forearm. “Do you have a couple of minutes?” she says.
I wait too long for any lie to sound natural. “Sure,” I say.
“I was just going down to get the mail, and I thought I’d tell you some things. Seeing as you’re new here, it wouldn’t hurt to know a little more about your neighbors.”