the Tent

june 2013. when i lived on a roof.

When I lived in Brooklyn, I would sometimes sleep on the roof in a tent. I liked it. It felt like a home more whole than my dark and dingy basement apartment. Up there, you couldn’t escape from the city, the sky, from every day’s dawn.

One May morning my phone buzzed:: It would storm. I was nestled behind a larger building and over the tent flew a regular blue tarp, 10 by 10 foot, secured to the roof by five lines to old screws and derelict TV antennas. I would be fine, I thought and decided to stay there in tent.

The storm hit as predicted. I woke to thunder. Sheets of rain illuminated by lightening flashing. Water was pooling above on the tarp, till the wind picked it up and sent the water crashing. In windy gusts I could feel rain. And I knew therefore the water would be upon my sleeping bag too. I considered leaving, but worried of being exposed on the open roof I stayed, sleepless, watching.

The next day tired I decided to sleep in my apartment proper and I never saw my tent again.

brooklyn tar roof

I discovered three of the tarp’s eyelets torn. The wind was so strong to tear the tarp and then lift the weighted tent over the adjacent buildings. This was a genuine loss, economic and sentimental. My glasses and knife were in the tent too. I could not afford to replace everything.

So, I made posters. Oh tent! Bright and cheerful, ever faithful, where did you go?

brooklyn seeking poster

Twice daily I checked my posters. People took my number. And no one called. A week past. Then someone called, and I missed it I was asleep. Ahhhhhh! The frustration. Google Voice failed to record the number. The frustration. Was it purposefully anonymous? Was it a prank call? Yet, the voicemail is weird and she mentions my sleeping bag, which was not mentioned in the poster. A lucky guess? Or was the tent found? Oh Tent!

I made new posters. I plastered them to poles far and wide. Tent is still missing. The regret! And over something so simple. I should have inspected the first morning after. I should have unmade camp. I should have tried harder. Most of all tho dark and stormy I shouldn’t have abandoned what was good.