pipe works of new kitchens on balconies.
He pushes his glasses up on his nose. Picking up a pencil, he begins to sketch, as he has done for me many times before. We are colleagues, both architects. He sketches a thick lined box.
“Boksoniera. The kitchens were put in boxes, it was the nature of the panel. And, you see there were no washing machines then, and no dishwashers.”
He draws thinner lines inside the box, denoting the cabinets. And then lables ‘Х’, ‘П’, ‘М’ for the fridge, the stove, and the sink.
“So, to get more room inside, people moved their kitchen outside, turning this box..”
He circles and circles the original box he drew.
“…into a kids room, or a place for grandma to sleep.”
He sets the pencil down and lets it roll.
“I had to move the kitchen!”
“It stunk up the entire apartment.”
She pulls the coffee from the cabinet below, and puts the dzhazve on the stove.
Then pulls the sugar and cream out for her, as she knows I drink mine black.
We are neighbors, both on the 5th floor of block 9.
“Do you have any idea how bad it smells after I cook fish?! And we love fish!”
She continues, glancing out the windows as she wipes down the counter.
“The ventilation inside never worked. Now I just open the windows.”
We both watch as the steam rises from the coffee, putting on a show for us in the morning light that floods the balcony.