In China, it was the plumbing–the salivating pipes, the bathroom tile splintered under the teeth of pick-axes, the grubby men with hairpin mouths scrutinizing their unnecessary reservoir.
In Lynnwood, it was the Mongolian exchange, nocturnal hip-hoppers perfecting break-dance moves in the early morning hours, police strobe lights, and cigarette butts jettisoned off the balcony like confetti.
In the apartment on 5th it was the audible urination of the hippie neighbor upstairs–the flush and recitation of their pipes settling.
In the apartment on 6th it was the thump of an electric bass guitar–the teenage thrum and pulse of a split marriage.
In the duplex it was the ancient landlord whom we could not reach by phone; it was that yapping Prussian puppy locked in its cage; it was the permit-evading rooster that crowed like Pan at suburban sunrises.
It was the “only 600 square feet”, the sound of an inflatable mattress bursting, the smell of burnt wiring as the ceiling light filled like a balloon with water.
In our brief, dark ages it was the last ember of coal that could not be stoked back to life, the boiling kettle that would serenade dish rituals, the rats that Swiss-ed and twisted gnarly teeth into our Tupperware, and the foreign tongues of Tibetans neighbors.
It was the sound of a freeway in our back yard, the crash of rocks and raccoons in the fish pond, the litany of televisions that blared forever at 2 a.m.
It was this: that ringing tinnitus that hummed on within us, for months and years– that lingering perturbation, so deftly built and remodeled within our head. It was this, more than the others, that remained, when softer, fonder memories had long fled. If was this odd place we once called home.