i go to nyc to visit my friend nick but somehow wind up in an apartment in queens where a former friend from high school lives with a friend of hers that i never liked. they watch tv. i keep telling them that nick put me on the subway with no directions and now i can’t get him on the phone. i’m not supposed to be here, i tell them. i want to be in the city, walking around. i feel an overwhelming horror at being kept inside. claustrophobia. they’re eating and eating and watching tv. they don’t care. they’re not leaving. they won’t help me. finally i get nick on the phone, he’s really fucked up on drugs and is hardly coherent, but manages to give me directions back to his apartment. before i leave the apartment of my former friend, i notice my engagement ring is missing. i dig in a deep, white duvet on a pullout sofa in the living room until i find it. “i never wear this,” i tell her, “i wonder why i brought it here.”

at nick’s apartment, he is drunk and high and keeps trying to fall asleep, i am shaking his arm telling him i have to go outside. i can’t waste this whole trip just staying inside various apartments. i convince him to at least come outside for a cigarette. i walk up a staircase in the middle of the living room to a tiny door by the top of the ceiling. i notice nick isn’t following me. i look down at him, “aren’t you coming?” i say. “that’s not the way out, this is,” says nick and points to an obvious, big door at ground level, “i’ve never gone up those stairs before. no one knows what’s beyond that little door.”