The ninth floor

Posted on

It has been raining a lot the past few days. I haven’t been coming out and who can blame me? It’s all cold and wet and cold and wet. But mostly cold.

I slip the last key that is not mine off the chain and place it on Blue Mike’s almost bare table.

Thursday night was a small party, suitably so, I think. I did not drink much. I did not drink the abominable arak, though not through the fault of the well-meaning thugs I call my friends. I did drink more than I wanted to, but that was okay. I mostly drew. Weird women with wires coming out of them and dragons and a taste of what does not exist.

Manuel lived in 909. Tonight will be Mike’s last in 922. Tomorrow he flies home.

When I was a kid, my grandma used to terrify me with the tale of this apartment building right in the heart of town. It was popularly known as Kow Low (pronounced “Gau Lau”, Deutsch-style), which was Cantonese for Nine Floors. A woman had jumped off the ninth floor, she told me, the highest floor and in dying, became a ghost to haunt the place. She wore all red when she jumped so she could come back for revenge.

I always meant to ask, but never did, why did she jump in the first place?

Probably a jilted lover. The movies, old Cantonese operas in black and white, assured me so. It was a horrible thing, but people stay there still, undeterred. Just wary. I remembered being scared as a child, listening to Grandma but scared in a delighted manner only a child knew how. Sweet shivers.

Today will be my last day on the ninth floor. A year’s memories. Something I hope to remember like a ghost story for a naughty child. Sweet shivers.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Pin on PinterestEmail to someone