*Not your average publishing company

Stormy Weather Over the City


The view from my room is all windows. And windows stacked above those windows. Balconies jutting from the bottoms of sliding doors rimmed with tufts of snow. Powdered, greying glass. And behind those windows, there is sometimes life. A whitish, pallid glow of fluorescent light paints the bodies inside. They lay limply on couches, their edges colored in with television glow. They may be eating. Sleeping. Not one has ever looked back at me.

Behind most of the windows, though, there is nothing. Like wormholes. Rich as dark irises centered on wet eyeballs, they are blank. Empty apartments—and not empty, waiting for a family to come back from dinner, or a 20-something from late-night dancing, or a lonesome man from work. They’re black and stay that way. Lights off. They made too many rooms in the building. And in the one next to that, and in mine, too. All these complexes, sprouting proudly out of the concrete, filled with rooms clung with dust, crawling through the even hum of time untouched. Rooms that make up the rotting hollows and entrails of the building’s body.

Being alone in my apartment makes me feel buggy. Inside, like something moving and squirming about, alive in me but in a maggot sort of way, in a parasitic sort of way. Ripe and wet with life, the kind that eats you up slow. It has been the same for more years than you could count, so don’t ask. I spend my mornings in my kitchen and eat crusted bread kind of burnt. And my days I spend in front of the TV while it spoon-feeds me the most delicious, seductive pictures. Life tender and cut into small pieces. Sweet and smooth, slip. And then in the evenings when the sun sets and I can see in every window clearly, I go out on the balcony and I watch the other apartments across the alley.

I like the weather reporters who come on every morning in their suits and pencil skirts. I like to hear them tell of a storm and wait for the prophecy to come true. It does every time. Stormy weather over the city. I see it through my window. Great heaps of ice or rain licking the glass. Or gauzy handfuls of sun darting through gaps in the buildings and landing fitfully on my carpet, squirming in neat patches.

I like the blonde girl in the show where many people laugh in the background after a joke, and I like the laughter very much because it makes my home feel full. And I like the porn channel because I can press my face up real close to the screen and I feel so close to their bodies and their heat. I like the woman that comes on the porn channel on Fridays at 8PM because she looks like the girl from the show. I like to watch her body move. She’s so plump and crisp I sometimes cry.

Will I leave? Of course I won’t. Why would you ask me that? You know, I don’t miss talking. And I don’t miss bodies or sweat or company. And on nights when I miss being seen I strip naked and I stand on my balcony and I feel as if I’ve ripped my skin off and am standing open-fleshed, the windows blinking at me. Inside the lighted rooms, though, nobody sees. The people watch the TV or sleep or pace.

They don’t glance out of their windows, not even once, and I might punch my bare chest just to test if I’m really there. I let my feet freeze to the concrete of the balcony or maybe I grip the rods of the iced railing and make sure I feel it at all. I begin to wonder and wonder too much so I walk back inside and put a robe on. Go to sleep. Do it again the next day.

Sometimes, I dream that someone from one of the lit windows will peer the dial of their face through the glass and watch me. And if I saw that face, maybe I would be brave enough to start at my throat and rip, with my nails or a knife or what have you. I’d cut the blanket of pulled skin, down, split the sternum. I’d start to pour. Watering my bare feet. And my stomach would rip and pull and my rot would pulse from me. Squirming and raining. I’d be ankles deep. I’d be as naked as I can be and then some. All the while, they would watch and say nothing. Backlit, hands pressing against the glass, a fog halo forming from their hot, steaming breath.

But there is no face. Never any face. Inside, I feel it all moving. Slowly churning. Curdling in me. I’ll go to bed. Like every night. It is all I can do.

Sofia Catanzaro is studying creative writing and film at Smith College (class of 2024). She has been featured in publications such as Rookie Magazine and Eunoia Magazine, and she is a two-time recipient of a Scholastics Art and Writing award, both for her poetry and her prose. She was born and raised in New York.

3 responses to “Stormy Weather Over the City”

  1. Sebastián Jaka Avatar
    Sebastián Jaka

    Es raro, más bien extraordinario, encontrarse así de pronto con una genialidad. Así de pronto, digo, porque no es acá, en este tipo de publicaciones en las cuales exponen artistas en ciernes donde uno espera encontrarlas. Sí en los artistas consagrados, o en los galardonado por algún premio importante. Creo que la última vez que sentí tanto extrañamiento y asombro frente a un cuento, el estar ante un hecho extraordinario, fue cuando leí "La niña del pelo raro" de David Foster Wallace. Creo que Sofía Catanzaro es una autora que va a dar mucho que hablar, y leer. Gracias!!

  2. Javier Avatar

    Very Good !! I like how She write.

  3. Yehuda Avatar

    Super strong writing. I am feeling it!! I see it!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: