Apartment blocks all have the same lines

Melle lives in a block of apartments that tesselates nicely with the small, neat gardens that separate it from the other blocks in the complex. All the buildings have the same lines, and these are mirrored in the lines of the garden beds. Her apartment is on the top floor so she can see that the lines form an intricate grid. She can almost see the blueprint that must have existed once – it probably still exists in the vaults of the developer, The Master Blueprint. This is why these complexes all look the same.

When she is at a loss for something to do, Melle will sit and watch the lines, creating in her mind’s eye the builders’ maps for the inside of the apartments. Knowing her small apartment as well as she does, there is very little difficulty involved in doing this: all the apartments are the same on the inside as well. Sometimes this is an activity Melle chooses, not out of boredom or lack of other options, but as first preference.

She likes to imagine how others have arranged things in their otherwise identical apartments. Things are very important to people and Melle likes to imagine what they are and which of them has priority over the others behind the curtains of the other apartments. In her apartment it is paper and pens.

Her work colleagues do not know that Melle draws. Neither do her family; she liked to draw as a child but doubts they would remember.

Melle draws the lives of others, lives she would like to have.

In her wardrobe there are suits, pleated skirts crisp shirts and drawers full of stockings that all smell vaguely dehydrated and burnt, like a dry cleaner’s. Her many pairs of high heels are battered so badly that each day spent with her feet in them is like learning to walk. She is attached to her shoes, enough to keep them even though they threaten to cripple her, but is not precious about them: they live in a pile under her neatly pressed hung clothes.

Her mother always used to pick at Melle’s lack of attention to her school shoes. Melle hasn’t really changed that much.

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