At the urging of my therapist, I moved into my first apartment when I was about 25 after moving back home for a few years after college.
My apartment was the second floor of a duplex on Beech Street. It was small and perfect. The living room got good sun that spilled over the hardwood floors in puddles. I’ve never lived in a place since that got sun like Beech Street did, and I sometimes want to move back there and live more mindfully. I want to wake up early each morning before work and drink coffee on the sofa in a shaft of sunlight. I don’t drink coffee anymore. Sun doesn’t fall across the sofa at any time of day.
There was a tiny entryway, and the refinished hardwood floors were damaged the day I moved in. The sealant on the floor hadn’t completely dried, despite my landlord’s claim that it had, and it poured the day I moved in. The floor was tacky, our shoes were soggy. We wrinkled the sealent with our shoes, and it dried in hard ridges like a clam shell.
The living room was big, with a double window and a single one, and it was flooded with light every morning and afternoon. I had three tall bookcases that took up one wall and held most of my books. When I lived in my mom’s house, my books were piled in teetering stacks in my closet, and I couldn’t wait to put them on shelves in my own apartment. I felt like I had arrived. I had an old, faded green camelback sofa. I can’t remember where I got it from, which seems strange to me. A coffee table that was way too big for the room held art books and a big blue vase with silk yellow tulips. My TV was in the corner on a blue trunk I had from college. Eventually I got an eggplant sisal rug.
The kitchen was pretty worthless. Little to no cabinets or counter space. I had no idea it was insufficient. I want to return to the me who didn’t know when something was insufficent, who didn’t care. The cabinets were mismatched and not attached to the wall. Leftovers from an 80s kitchen renovation. I was afraid of the gas stove. I was sure that I was going to blow up the street. There was a fire escape off the kitchen. I should have had my coffee out there. I never did. There was a small yard. I don’t think I stood in the yard once.
The bedroom was small but the exact right size for me, a dresser, and a bed. There were two windows. A small closet still papered with stained but delicate and pretty wallpaper from the 50s. Climbing roses. I loved that closet.
The bathroom was built from pink and black subway tiles. A teeny tiny vanity. A bathtub. The shower curtain was covered with dragonflies. The floor was small brown tiles. It never looked clean no matter how often I scrubbed it.
The apartment was always cold in the winter. The thermostat was in the downstairs’ tenant’s apartment. One time I knocked on his door to ask him to turn up the heat, and he answered the door naked. He was embarrassed and apologized profusely. I wondered who he was expecting that would have made it acceptable to answer the door naked.