Tomorrow I am vacating the apartment I’ve lived in for seven and a half years.
The apartment I’ve lived in for almost the entire decade of my twenties.
I spent my childhood growing up in a house with my family. And then I moved out and grew up even more in this apartment because oh, twenties, you are tumultuous. All the turmoil that came with this decade (which, let’s be honest I am more than happy to leave behind for good in about six months), was worked out and through on the third floor of a little family house on a tree-lined street in Queens.
I can’t seem to articulate all that I’m feeling about leaving. And with me, as you can imagine, I AM FEELING QUITE A LOT.
Above all, I am excited about creating a new home for myself with a person I love like crazy. I feel so grateful for that. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I ever believed such a person would come along, though my twenties were filled with hope that he would.
I don’t feel apprehensive about sharing a space with my boyfriend at all. I’ve been warned by multiple people that “you don’t really know a person until you live with them” and that may be true but I’m not buying it. Not really.
I don’t know everything about him, I doubt I ever will. But I know the basics by now about how we operate. And for me, that is enough and it is beautiful and loving and when it’s not, we figure it out so I’m actually thrilled at the opportunity to learn even more about him. This leads to learning more about me and how I react and handle things and all of it is so, so good.
(The basic dynamic of us sharing a space are this in case you’re curious:
Me, who shared a room with a sibling from age 0-18: DON’T YOU WANT TO BE CLOSE TO ME? ALL THE TIME? COME HERE, JUST FOR A SECOND, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, LET’S HANG OUT! ISN’T THIS FUN? LET’S TALK SOME MORE! TALK TALK TALK HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGS!
Him, who always had his own room: Um, I love you a lot and appreciate your energy but can I sit over here for a little while by myself? Then I’ll be right back. Thank you!
Anyway, I’m not worried.
But it’s bittersweet.
I haven’t really heard a lot of people talking about some of the grief that arises when big life changes occur, particularly when the change is romantic in nature. I’m used to being fed the idea that a partner will complete you and make you happy and you never have to worry again!
Thankfully, I met my boyfriend after I learned that none of those things are true. In fact, I think I met him partly because I stopped waiting for someone to complete me, make me happy, give me things. I worked on completing myself. Making myself happy. Giving myself what I needed instead of relying on someone else to do so.
So, there is excitement. But there is also a little bit of grief at the things I’m leaving behind, mostly the home that I’ve known for so long.
The kitchen where I’ve baked countless cupcakes, a million dinners (all involving pasta of some sort), cursing the 1950′s oven that has a habit of just ceasing to work whenever it feels like it. The dining room where I cooked Alayna so many Friday night dinners when she was engaged to the man who is now her husband, drinking wine, sharing the chocolate bars I kept in the freezer.
The living room where many a guest has crashed on the sofa. The blizzard that kept me and Troy inside for an entire weekend, we baked cornbread and sat on the couch watching movies. Attempting to put up a Christmas tree by myself. Realizing I bought two different colored sets of twinkling lights. Walking with Alayna to CVS to exchange them, cupping hot To Go mugs full of spiked cider.
The bedroom where I sleep, all by myself, occasionally getting scared when I realize no one else is home. The shape of my closet door in the dark. The window facing the backyard open in the summer, the muffled sounds of voices talking and laughing late into the night. The sheets I bought from Pottery Barn, one of my first expensive grown up purchases.
Moving my car each week for street cleaning.
How I can parallel park like nobody’s business because of that.
Steve at the bagel shop who boxes in his spare time.
Felix who knows how I like my egg sandwich.
Jennifer who does my dry cleaning and laughs every time she punches my last name into the computer because what kind of name is that?!
The park I’ve weaved through while out for a run. The pavement where I fell and sprained my ankle and knee. The cabbie who drove me home because I couldn’t walk.
The chimes drifting up from the church a few blocks away on Sundays. The Greek Orthodox priests who lead a solemn parade around the neighborhood on Good Friday at midnight. The Italians who close down the main street for a weekend every summer to have a street fair. The Greeks who get jealous and close down a similar street the very next weekend, not to be outdone. The Muslims during Ramadan who lay out their prayer mats on the pavement every evening, too many of them to fit inside the mosque, nodding quietly at me as I gingerly step around them on my way home.
The Thai place.
The trains rushing over the Hellgate bridge.
The man at the liquor store who, according to his business card, is named “Prince Ali”.
When I showered with a roach.
When my roommate fried a rat in his car.
When we had a mouse or five.
When I lived with the most hilarious girl ever.
When the crazy guy next door shot his ex-wife and step-daughter”, when the guy downstairs left his motorcycle running and nearly killed us all with carbon monoxide, when the other guy downstairs got so drunk he passed out in the street in front of the building and three gorgeous firemen rang our doorbell at 6 in the morning to identify him. How my roommate and I cursed the fact that we were in our pajamas then because did you see those firemen?! Yowza.
Mostly though, the rooms, the walls of my apartment standing strong when I got a callback, when I didn’t get the job, when I got up early for auditions, when I hated auditioning, when I lost my job, when I cleaned my room on a Saturday morning blasting 80′s music, when I broke up with someone, when I cried so hard I thought I would never stop wishing desperately for any kind of comfort at all, when I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, when I realized the value of friendship and love and gratitude.
My beautiful crazy wonderful home.
I am going to miss it and all the people that went with it oh so very much.