I lived there for 30 months. It was my 17th residence, if you don’t count hotels. It saw me turn my debate gig into a full-time job, the shavings of the worst year of my life into something livable, the wreckage of a marriage into another relationship with promise. That relationship started in that apartment, and always will have.
At least eight boxes entered and exited the building sealed, remaining so for the duration of the two and a half years spent there. I signed my divorce papers there, ended my last conversation with my wife there, eventually stopped hiding the knives there. It played host to a meaningful start to at least one other relationship between people not me, one whose ebbs and flows were tumultuously linked to my own perceptions on the league in which I coach. A few friends visited, some overnight, but not many and not often, usually opening the windows when they did. It was where I learned that Pandora had died, but my cat never set paw therein, despite all her stuff being there when she was put to sleep.
It was where I almost got a rabbit, thrice. As it was, I never actually had an animal in the place once, unless you count the couple of mice that were there the first few weeks I was.
The cold water faucet in the sink worked for less than 10% of my residence time. The heat was roasting in the early morning hours, but nearly off in mid to late evening. October and April tended to be freezing. The first day in fall that the heat would finally come on would be cause for dancing. The kitchen was the size of a small coffin, footprint wise. It felt like same to inhabit.
Things discarded upon departure: A bookcase with separated shelves, the plywood board for keeping art straight across the country in summer 2011, the toaster oven I’d had since 2002, Fish’s old blender whose top never worked, several coat hangers, the sparkling grape juice, Trader Joe’s cornbread mix, and microwave meals which had all been purchased at prior residences.
It had a mantle with no fireplace and I actually rotated seasonal cards there atop my turtle collection and a handful of candles. I burned cases of candles in the place, many in the bathroom in place of the appalling overhead light. There were Christmas lights of one kind or another in every room save that one, most of them with fun light covers, some of which date from 1987.
I filmed most of the abortive attempts at the Blue Pyramid Stories video series there, shortly before the giant laminated world map started falling off the wall and depriving me of my backdrop. I never was able to make the thing stick properly again and I’ve had trouble not reading that, like so much else, as a metaphor.
I rode out two hurricanes there. I watched a great deal of snowfall, departed for my first trip to the Jersey shore therefrom, and bought and installed my first air-conditioner there, which is still in my possession.
I came home late a lot. After infinitely late late-rounds of debate at practice, after all-night sessions of poker at Parx and elsewhere, after late late movies with a couple different people or just by myself. After diners and debates and bowling.
Some things will not be changing.
A lot of things will, though. There will be TV again, and better Internet hopefully, and nothing stolen from the front porch. There will be more cooking, more space, a yard in back for the nice days and the snow days. There will be laundry that doesn’t require a trip outside and wrestling with the rusty heavy storm doors and their concussive clearance. There will be less parking, admittedly. There will be less walking, though there’d been basically no walking for all of the past year, after that torrid crazy year of walking everywhere at 3 AM in drenching storms because of how little I cared.
There will be caring, hopefully.
Farewell, 119 South 1st Avenue, Apartment B. May your endlessly amended address serve someone else just as well.