I live in a hundred and twenty year old apartment building with a nonexistent elevator. My nonexistent doorman’s name is Allen, and his wife doesn’t let him eat dairy products past six o’clock in the evening. She says it’s bad for his attention span, that he may let in thieves and homeless men at night without realizing. I tell him, “It’s okay, Allen. Since you don’t exist, it doesn’t matter what you eat.” I then give him a glass of milk and some cookies and wish him well on his way home.
Allen isn’t fond of the subway. But since he lives in Queens, he does his best to ride it the least amount possible. Every morning at four o’clock, he walks four avenues down to catch the F train. He lives someplace off of Woodside, in a little rundown one bedroom apartment above a liquor store. The owners of the store rent it out to him and his wife because they think they’re “safe.”
Allen’s wife is a seamstress. Her customers readily take advantage of her because she doesn’t speak English well, but she still makes enough money to put food on the table. Allen’s own income is secured into their savings account at a nearby bank. They are saving up to move to a nicer place where hopefully they can raise a child shamelessly.
Allen and his wife live a life of cautious optimism. A young man with little hope and luck in his past, he has learned to appreciate the good that comes his way. Wonderful things may happen, but he knows that they don’t last. He takes life one day at a time and makes sure that his wife is smiling every morning after waking up. For Allen, that is all that matters now. For Allen, nonexistence is the key to keep smiling.