Sophie Henry

It is Move Out Day, a blissful day of new beginnings. My suitcases are packed. My boxes are sealed. My body is ready for the trappings of Basic Economy Plus travel across the continental United States. I only need to take down my 18-by-24 poster of JetBlue CEO Robin N. Hayes from my now-former bedroom, and then I will finally be free. This should only take a few seconds.

Well, that did not go totally as planned. Though Robin dearest is now face-to-face with my polished hardwood floors, there are clearly four dark spots where the poster putty has refused to detach completely from the wall. Mr. Landlord is not going to like this. Not one bit.

I claw at the remnants to no avail. Pathetic, spindly lines emerge from the off-white mounds, which otherwise stay firm and highly visible. I flashback to Lease Signing Day. I had vowed to follow many rules back then, like no smoking. No drugs. No pets. No parties — that includes gatherings for JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program members. No touching the thermostat. No opening the windows. And of course, no hanging objects on the walls.

Mr. Landlord, his eyes glowing red, had told me he wanted the apartment to show no sign of life by Move Out Day. The walls must be naked, he had growled, jangling his keys. Naked and afraid. But today I am the one in fear. I had thought I’d be a sneaky, rambunctious little tenant and purchase so-called “reusable” and “removable” poster putty to decorate my apartment, but it was all empty marketing and broken promises. Big Putty let me down, just like Big Tech, Big Pharma and Big Delta Airlines. 

I try one last time to dislodge the putty, but I only succeed at leaving sweaty fingerprints. In fact, the smudges kind of look bigger now. I think I accidentally squished the pieces flat. It is beyond obvious the wall once housed a rectangular object, and therefore a living, breathing admirer of said rectangular object. This will not be okay with Mr. Landlord. He would never understand the unique bond between JetBlue customer and senior executive. It is a bond worth all the poster putty and security deposits in the world.

Oh no! The doorbell just rang. I hear the jingly jangles. They are growing louder and louder, like the roar of a JetBlue Airbus A321 at takeoff. Spare me, Mr. Landlord! Lord Landlord! Fill your heart with forgiveness. Fill your soul with calm. I can be putty in your hands, but my putty will not budge from the wall.