Charlie Schneider

A dense canopy of leaves overhangs the back of Elsewhere. They protected me as I sat, day after day, in the window nook of the common area. They were my shield and my sundial—the world was behind them, somewhere else, and its changing colors reflected on their faces. Sometimes I caught myself staring at them. The occasional breeze reminded me I needed to work.
And work I did. I came to Elsewhere hoping I’d be able to write a short story in my time there, and within about a month, I had a draft I didn’t hate—a first for me. I also took copious notes, revised several stories, and began a new one. I couldn’t have done all this in a place that didn’t so accommodate my rhythms; I read in quiet all day most days, and wrote with dim light and no-see- ums for company most nights. Daniel, the residency manager, kept us supplied with tomatoes, and Tomatoes, the cat, rested on my legs whenever Daniel’s weren’t around to rest on. In my experience, the only tithe Elsewhere demanded once I got there was to be paid in affection for Tomatoes. I’m allergic, but Tomatoes wouldn’t be denied. Soon enough, there on my window seat, my legs felt bereft without him curled between them. Elsewhere reminded me how far one can travel without going anywhere. I went to Germany, Dallas, Wales, Soviet Russia, Ontario, Florida, Trieste, Chicago, and Vietnam. All I needed were trees in the window, a cat, something to write on,
and time.