Surfside

Moving there at this point in time was already a dubious idea. Every day, there was some sort of article about how Miami was the ultimate “climate dystopia.” Lynne, however, wasn’t one for absorbing mass media or buying into headlines intended to grab attention. What she was one for was escaping the nightmare her life had become in New York. And yes, she knew it was a cliché for someone living in New York to “retire” in Miami, but so be it. It was the only place she could think of to go. Because, like most New Yorkers, she had difficulty fathoming what a life outside of the city could actually be despite hating her life inside of that city while telling herself it was just a tradeoff for the “razzle-dazzle” that could make itself apparent once in a blue moon. 

Evidently, no blue moon had appeared for quite a while, and so Lynne was finally ready to admit that maybe it was useless to try to pretend anymore. That she “loved” it there, or that she had anything that was truly “binding” her to the location. She had acquaintances, sure, but no real friends to speak of. No one that would genuinely give much of a shit if she left, even though she had been a resident of the accursed city for more than ten years. 

As she packed her things in boxes over the course of the month leading up to her departure, she had to muse that she was supposedly that rare exception to the rule about how once you had stayed in NYC for ten years, you were sure to be a lifer. But no, not her. She was escaping. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as it would turn out. 

***

A body was being pulled from the rubble when they drove past. And here she had stated that she specifically did not want to see the defunct condo, but her Uber driver was of the tragedy porn bent that all Americans are. Wanting to show her the horrid display under the guise of telling her something like, “It’s a piece of history.” Or rather, pieces of history. The collapse happened about a week before she was slated to move. She watched the video several times, wondering, selfishly, if this would mean a number of suddenly fearful people would back out of their impending lease agreements and free up the unit she had originally wanted in the Mother of Pearl Apartments. Situated right near the ocean by Bal Harbour, Lynne was excited to be near a beach without having to commute for about an hour and thirty minutes on a subway in order to get to one. And a shitty one, at that. New York could try to play up how “far” (metaphorically rather than just literally) Rockaway Beach had come, but it was still a cesspool if you asked Lynne. Which no one did, because no one ever really talked to her at all. Not like how it already was from the second she landed in Miami. 

The motor-mouthing driver was eager to welcome her, and it had been a long time since Lynne was flirted with so flagrantly. She had almost forgotten entirely what it felt like to be desired, and, to be frank, it wasn’t necessarily a welcome feeling. She had grown accustomed to the sense of freedom and anonymity that came with being seen as “day old bread” in New York—which essentially meant: not in one’s twenties. Now that she was in “the 305,” it appeared as though she was all shiny and new again. Unlike the decimated building that her driver, whose name she had by now found out was Jorge, insisted upon stopping in front of as part of “the tour.” A tour she never wanted, nor asked for. 

She tried, as best as she could, to sound polite when she shouted at him, “Excuse me, Jorge, but can we please get the fuck away from here?” 

“Damn mami, okay. I believe you now when you say you comin’ from New York. Y’all motherfuckers is rude.”

She was starting to bristle. The situation was getting contentious, mounting into something that could spell out disaster. Just like the one currently next to her. Which she was being forced to have her nose rubbed in. To have her entire arrival experience soured with this memory. And it already was to begin with just from seeing the building and the recovery statistics plastered across the national news before she even touched down into the not so “Magic” City. To see the carnage in the flesh was something far worse. A mix of firefighters, members of an Israeli search team that had taken an especial interest in the catastrophe because of the large Jewish population of the community, and other assorted “horror mongers” were flitting about the premises. 

Lynne asked Jorge once again, “Can you please take me to my destination? I don’t want to be here.” 

“Lady, you’re gonna have to see it every day. You live right nearby. Might as well get used to it. I’m helpin’ you out.”

That was it. That was the last straw. From this point forward, Lynne was going to get biblical with her rage, unleashing a tirade of anger that began with, “Helping me nothing! You fucking hairy dwarf of a man! I paid you for a service and you obviously can’t perform. Just like you probably can’t in the bedroom either!” Lynne then proceeded to get out of the car with the suitcase she deliberately didn’t put in the trunk for reasons of paranoia that proved valid in this instant. She ambled with purpose, knowing she was perfectly capable of walking the rest of the way and refusing to look at the ruins beside her. 

Unfortunately, the body that was just unearthed when Jorge pulled up to Surfside decided to come to abruptly. And, rightly so, the man’s reaction to regaining consciousness was sheer and unbridled acrimony. One that prompted him to start charging in a blind and urgent furor right toward Lynne. As though he didn’t even see her; perhaps he really didn’t—shock can do that. Instead, he barreled through her, knocking her into of the middle of the road just as Jorge was gunning it to leave. He kept going, too, only looking back at a half-coherent Lynne to shout, “Bienvenido a Miami!” Because none of the firefighters or rescue team bore witness to what happened, Lynne was left to fade out slowly. In their haste, they would count her as part of remains recovered from Surfside.

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