Point of View

             Crewly sat down on the single bed in his one room apartment. He was  winded from walking up five flights to get there. Wheezing, he lit a  cigarette and gazed out the room’s one dirty window at the building  across the way while the smoke rose. He then began untying his work  boots that smelled of the day’s travails. He stood up and unzipped the  orange jumpsuit now stained with all manner of refuse. Throwing the suit  over one of the two creaky wooden chairs that sat at the card table  Crewly used for meals he could see the words on the back, “Sanitation  Department.” Never thought I would grow up to be a garbage man, Crewly  thought as he turned the gas on his four burner stove and began heating  up some Chunky Clam Chowder. He looked over at his shelves and pulled  out one of the Rabbit books by John Updike to read with dinner.
          The young girl upstairs was playing her music too loud again. It was  some sort of techno-rap Crewly didn’t understand. He liked Miles Davis  and Beethoven. Crewly picked up a broom from the corner of the room and  hit the ceiling, “Hey Julie turn that down,” he yelled. She obliged but  not without a little boost of power to her volume that held for a minute  or so. She does that just to aggravate me.
         When Crewly had  just moved into the building Julie had been nice to him. She had him  over for dinner when his things weren’t unpacked. Crewly found her  attractive. She was in her twenties, and full of life. She had a pierced  navel she showed off with short tops that left the jewel she kept there  visible. She also wore an eyepatch on her left eye. She had a bad  accident with a rose bush as a child, which had left her eye weak though  she could see out of it. Crewly liked the way it looked. He also  realized he was old enough to be her father and that he had just left  the only woman he’d ever lived with when he caught her cheating on him  with their newspaper delivery man. When he’d asked her why she did it  she told him, “You smell like garbage. You look old. And you smoke too  much.” These didn’t seem like good reasons to break up a relationship  but Crewly left anyway. “It’s all in your point of view,” she’d said.
          “Now you stay away from that Julie,” Mawk had said. Crewly told Mawk  all about his life as they rode on the truck through the streets of New  York City each day picking up the public’s discarded dreams.
         “I’ll bet you she’d do ya if ya talked nice to ‘er,” Mawk laughed.
         “Shut up Mawk,” Crewly punched him gently on the shoulder. “I’m not that kind of guy.”
          “Oh Crewly, Oh Crewly,” chided Mawk as he turned his baseball cap  around so the bill faced backwards. Crewly grabbed the cap and tossed it  in the gaping maw of the truck.
         “Aw man,” said Mawk, “Now I’m gonna have to get another for tomorrow.”
         “You should have been quiet when I told you,” Crewly answered leaning up against the yellow truck. They both laughed.
          After eating his Chunky Soup Crewly undressed completely and took a  shower. He turned on Miles Davis Tribute to Jack Johnson on the portable  CD player he’d bought for the apartment. He owned the complete  collection of Beethoven’s symphonies as well as a good assortment of  jazz including Miles Davis’, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. He turned  up the volume so he could hear the music in the shower. Halfway through  his shampoo he heard pounding on the ceiling.
         “Turn THAT  shit down,” he heard Julie yelling. Crewly finished his shower and  obliged. After the shower Crewly put on his bathrobe, lit a candle on  the card table, and sat in a chair. He pulled out a Cross-pen and a  yellow pad. The pen was a prize he’d won as runner up in his high school  poetry contest. He’d kept it all these years as a special memento of  when his life had promise. He often had to search many stationery stores  to find refills. Crewly decided, now that he had time on his hands he  would try to write poetry again. He stared out the window as if looking  for an inspiration. It was night now and the streetlamp’s eerie glare  peered around the corners of the building next door. He could still see  the apartments there. They were surrounded by a golden haze.
         He wrote: Life’s golden haze lights my way,
                          Recalcitrant refuse makes my day.
          Suddenly, Julie’s techno rap bellowed from upstairs. He heard the  springs on her bed creaking and moaning. Oh shit, she’s getting laid, he  thought. I gotta get out of here! Crewly walked down the five flights  to the street, turned right and headed toward Broadway. New York, New  York it’s a wonderful town went through his mind. At the corner of  Broadway and Seventy-eighth Street there was an old man in a wheelchair  spare changing people. He held out his cup and asked, “Can you spare  some change?” Crewly gave him a dollar. “Thanks” said the old man, “But  that won’t help you.”
         “What do you mean,” asked Crewly.
         “I mean I can see into your soul and I know you’re innermost thoughts. I know your pain, and I see your future.”
         “So am I gonna hit the lottery tonight, pop?” Crewly laughed.
         “In a way,” he answered. Then he asked another passerby, “Can you spare some change?” The conversation was over.
          After eating a burger at The Burger Joint Crewly made his way back to  the six-flight walk up. When he got to the stoop Julie was sitting there  without her eyepatch crying.
         “What’s the matter?”
         “I just broke up with my boyfriend. He beat me up.”
         “So that’s what all the noise was”
         “Yeah. I screamed at him and told him if he didn’t leave I was gonna call the cops.”
         “That’s too bad. Did he cheat on you too?”
         “Not that I know of.”
         “Well, his loss. I caught the love of my life screwing the paper guy.”
         “That’s tough too.”
          “Here let me clean you up a bit.” Crewly took out a pack of Kleenex and  wiped Julie’s one eye where the make up had run. He handed the paper to  her. She dabbed her eyes.
         “You’re not such a bad sort really,” Julie said.
         “No I’m just a guy trying to get by.”
          “Well thanks for talking to me. Thanks for the Kleenex. You comin’ in?”  Julie held the front door for Crewly. He climbed up the stoop, stopped  and said, “You wanna go out dancin’ tonight?”
         Julie stopped for a minute startled. She reached in her pocket, pulled out her eyepatch and put it on.
         “Why don’t we go down to the village and listen to some jazz,” Julie said.
         “OK. So what’s it like seeing the world through one eye?”
         “Why don’t you try it,” she said taking off the eye patch and handing it to him
         “It gives you a different point of view,” said Crewly wearing the eye patch as they walked to the subway.