I had looked forward so much to having an apartment of my own, had carried the idea around with me so fondly all through the army, that I was astonished to discover, after my first few days there, that I was lonely. I couldn’t understand how this could be. It was one thing to feel lonely in Brooklyn or in the army, but how could I be lonely in my own place in Greenwich Village? I hadn’t yet realized that loneliness was not so much a feeling as a fate. It was loneliness that walked the streets of the Village and filled the bars, loneliness that made it seem such a lively place.
Whoever had the apartment before me had painted the walls in wide vertical stripes in three different shades of blue. I lay on my sterilized bed and felt blue too, every shade of blue. It shook my faith. It was my first great disappointment as an adult, my first postwar defeat. I rallied briefly and painted the walls grass green. I tacked burlap on the windows, but I was still lonely. It was a green loneliness now.