An Ode to Our Apartment

Thanks to seven friends who offered helping hands in exchange for pizza and beer, we are all loaded up. The many hands made light work of the hauling, and their expertise in loading trucks and their knack for spatial relationships (a skill I’m sorely lacking) was much appreciated. It’s good to have friends. Leaving them behind is certainly not something we’re looking forward to. But tomorrow we hit the road, driving our 16-foot Penske truck through the western reaches of Maryland, into the cross-studded hills of West Virginia, and through the bluegrass of Kentucky to my parents’ home in Louisville.

Tonight our apartment is nearly empty, and it very much reminds me of what it looked like when I first arrived here almost exactly four years ago. Then there was not much beyond white walls and the smattering of furniture Jeff had already moved in. Now there are colorful walls, but still just a smattering of furniture, this time that which we will leave behind. Though I will be coming back here, living with just an air mattress, small table, a few dishes, and my computer for two weeks, it feels like this is it. For Jeff, it pretty much is. Maybe one or two nights post-Louisville trip, but he’s just about spent his last nights here. Four years ago, he started things out living here alone for a week or two before I arrived. Now I close things down, living here alone for the final two weeks.

This place has been good to us. It’s the first place the two of us both called home, the place we moved in together just after getting engaged. We painted the walls together, dripping blue and green paint all over ourselves and the plastic we’d been wise enough to put over the carpet. We picked out furniture and decor, aiming to have a home and not just a house. Here we planned our wedding, mulling over the guest list, picking out readings and music, making a long list of do-not-play songs for the DJ. Here we addressed envelopes and licked them close until we lost all sense of taste. Here we built the foundation of a life together.

In this one-bedroom apartment we fought over stupid things and then made up. We laughed much more often than we yelled or cried. We played Scrabble, Uno, and Yahtzee here. Here Jeff howled hysterically at my video playing skills, and I’d laugh until I couldn’t breath whenever I talked Jeff into participating in my impromptu dance parties. We cooked together in our kitchen, then watched deer out our window as we ate dinner at the tiny card table we called a dining table. We celebrated birthdays here. We had friends over for Derby parties, Super Bowl parties, Rock Band parties, game nights, and for absolutely no reason at all. We decorated our first Christmas tree here, and we figured out how to keep the tree from falling over the next year. We lived out the first three years of our marriage here.

I sold my first freelance article here. And I was here when I found out I had gotten my first “book deal.” On many long, late nights here, Jeff wrote his thesis. And it was here, over the past four years, that we schemed and saved, planned and proposed, dreamed and desired, daring to turn a vague wish to travel into the reality of a year-long trip around the world. When I close the door behind me for the last time, I expect to feel a slight twinge of sadness. But I’ll take the memories, store them carefully in a place I can access whenever I wish, and then step off into the future, in search of the next place to call home, whether it be for four years, four days, or four decades.

7 Replies to “An Ode to Our Apartment”

  1. And who can forget, visiting resident. Yep that would be me, spending nearly 3 months sleeping on a damn comfy couch and squeezing three cooks in a kitchen that was big enough for just one. I’m pretty sure thats the only time I “visited” though not that it wasn’t long enough. It was good to me for that short time. Minus that one evening it was raining sheets and the windows were leaking.

  2. You summed it up pretty well. Store those memories in a special place. They will help you many times as you travel throughout life. Drive safely and I will see you tomorrow!

  3. Isn’t it an “empty” feeling? Like not having the ground under your feet any more? No where to “come back”…

    I mean, when I moved countries, I knew I’d always have my parents’ house to go back, and I still have.. but I know it’s not “mine”, and if I, at some point, had to go back, it would certainly be temporary.

    Suddenly you’re free, but you’re also homeless.
    I guess it is a good exercise: detachment from material goods.

  4. As a non-traveler for the most part, I’m impressed that I made it to that apartment 5 times(I think), including the initial move and the “wedding gift” delivery. The most impressive part about those 5 trips is that each trip was made with a different person (although Greg was a late addition to one of those trips). In fact, my trip lead to Greg’s residency. Good times. The weirdest part of those 5 trips is that, even though I never lived in Dayton while you lived in D.C., I flew out of Dayton twice to visit.

    That was a good apartment. Has given me some ideas to consider as I look for a new one. Closet space was pretty good. Not something easy to find in a one bedroom. And that one bedroom was pretty darn big too.

  5. Aw this makes me sad 🙁 It hit me the other day that eventually Boris and I will also have to leave our house, which I love. It’s exciting to know you’re moving on to bigger and better things, but it’s hard to leave behind a place that’s created so many memories.

    Have a safe drive!

  6. I feel ya, Theresa! We are currently packing, packing, packing. We pick up (well, GT picks up – I’ll be at work) the U-Haul 26′ truck on Sunday, pack it up Monday and head to Lexington to move into a 1 BR apt on Tues. And, like you – I’ll be coming back to an air mattress and not much else to stay for 2 weeks. And, we also had lots of “firsts” here. It was rather sad taking down our kayaks out of out barn, knowing that they wouldn’t return there. (they’re off to storage for now…). The only diifference here is that I will not be going on a around the world trip (i am jealous….). We will be closer to home and moving on with our life though. Hope the party is fun tomorrow – happy bon-voyage from TN!

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