It is impossible to avoid driving by our old apartment. Especially because one of my best friends lives less than a block away. When she first moved in, I thought this was the greatest thing ever. Now, some days, it kind of sucks.
She and I decided to go on a walk around the neighborhood tonight. We couldn’t go running, I was wearing jeggings. (I know, I know…I am still working on breaking the habit!). We started down the familiar street toward the familiar old stoop. Out of habit I looked up to the third floor window that once used to be ours. I saw a t.v. flickering and a potted plant in the window. Someone had moved in.
My mind went back to the last time I saw the home I loved so much. The last time I looked around the empty space before shutting the door for the very last time. I wondered what the inside looked like now. I wondered what the person who lived there was like and how they chose to decorate it. I wondered if they found the spots in the carpet yet that Lily had pulled up with her claws (which we were somehow able to hide from the landlord!) I wondered if they saw the scuff marks on the floor where the old ottoman used to sit by the window. I wondered if they used the extra hooks we installed in the bathroom for their towels. I only hope they love that place as much as we did.
It is strange to think of someone else living in that apartment, that someone else now calls that place home. It was the first real home I had ever made on my own. I haven’t been living with my parents for nearly ten years but in the past, I saw every other apartment as temporary, a place to live for a year or less until I found the next place to live. When Joe and I moved in together I thought I would never again live in a home without him. We built that home together. I always thought when we moved out (on to the next bigger and better place together, of course) that we would leave something small behind. Our names scrawled on the underside of a kitchen cabinet, our initials carved in the closet, something that would leave our mark in the first home we ever shared. When all of the things had been moved out, and the place was clean and empty I took a lap around for the very last time. Even then, I thought of putting our…well at least my initials somewhere to mark my time in that place, but in the end decided against it. It was simply too sad.
Even now, some days I am STILL baffled as to how all of this happened. If someone told me six months ago how things would be now, I would have never believed them. The two of us living separately, someone new living in our place, our lives moving on independent of one another…never in my wildest dreams. Yet now, every day, I am faced with that reality. Even though I know it is for the best, the pain in my heart still lingers. Driving by the old place is inevitable, and the thought of not instinctively looking up at our old window seems impossible. I just hope that with time, it will get easier.
To the new tenant/s: YES the dishwasher is always THAT loud and takes THAT long to finish a wash cycle. In the mornings, the hot water takes forever to heat up, and no matter how many hours you spend cleaning that shower, the way it looks on the day you moved in is the cleanest it will EVER be. If you wear high heels the people below you can hear every step you take, but if you sit in the walk in closet you can hear every conversation they have. Oh and if the upstairs neighbors start having sex, you’ll know. Usually turning up the volume on the TV can drown them out. If you find any stray balls or wine corks behind the washer and dryer they belong to Lily and if you find any stray buttons or loose change it is probably mine.
I hope this new place brings you as much happiness as it once brought us. I hope it brings you more luck than we had. I wish you nothing but the best as you settle in, and hope you are just as happy on the day you move out as you were on the day you moved in. Take care of 305, it is a really special place and you are so lucky to call it home.