The First Apartment Was #17. There Are Seventeen Steps Leading Up To This One
This apartment has become beloved. I’m listening to a talented pianist play passionately on his piano below me. He’s a very quiet neighbor otherwise, and his piano-playing is pleasant, if not a little confusing. When we’re eating dinner, I can suddenly hear odd bass notes, and it’s that piano below us.
We also had a neighbor through our living room wall who had a very active and very squeaky bed. He has since moved, but we just laughed when we heard the rhythms coming through that wall.
The things I love most about this apartment are the many deciduous trees outside and the large windows that let light in at all times of the day. Because of the trees and bushes and fences and parking lots around us, we’ve seen a whole lot of birds. Some are klutzy, like one particular blue jay who hangs around here, but most are simply looking for food in their neighborhood.
There are things I don’t like about this one. The living room is dark and long and narrow. The front door is at one end of the hall that is a living room and the dining room is at the other end. We’ve split it up nicely by putting our books at one end and our entertainment center at the other end, essentially making it two rooms instead of one long one.
Of course, our neighbors whose doors are near ours all smoke. All of them. And there’s a big gap between the bottom of the front door and the floor. Even when we put a door snake in front of the door, I’m still afraid that our entire book collection will smell faintly of cigarette smoke. When watching TV, we hold the afghan that is in our laps up to our noses for fifteen minutes at a time. Sometimes, when one cigarette break is done, another one from the other side begins.
Still, the sunlight and the trees are worth it. In the winter, the sun covers my entire bed in the early afternoon. Right before sunset, the sun hits our front door from the dining room window. That pre-sunset ray bounces off the CD mirror on the door and hits the wall behind the TV. It only lasts for a few minutes before the sun moves on, but when this happens, it’s magic.
The kitchen feels spacious. I have plenty of cabinet space and storage room. Our first apartment ever had a hall kitchen, and our next apartment will have a hall kitchen, but this one does not. Sure, all the counters in this complex are spray-painted, but the space is worth it. The floorboards creak. Just’In is always worried about The Piano Player; I love it.
The bathroom is tiny. I’ve got plenty of room in the kitchen, but barely enough in the bathroom. I’m looking forward to having two bathrooms in the next apartment so there’s more room for toilet paper and toilet reading material.
This apartment has made me appreciate parking lots. There is one out the bedroom window, but it’s lined by middle-aged trees. You’d be surprised of how much happens in a parking lot, even one that accompanies an empty building. Because it’s abandoned, we leave the window wide open; people used to walk through it all the time because there was a gap in the fence around the parking lot. The building’s being slowly remodeled, so the hole’s been fixed, but police cars still hide there occasionally even though they don’t stay long.
In the summer, we can hear the outdoor parties that are held by the people who live on the other side of the hedge. We can’t understand what they’re saying because of the hedge and the distance between us, but it feels comforting to know that we have neighbors who love life. Their distantly bubbly noise makes me feel happy about the warmth and camaraderie of summer. So, too, do the children who play just below us on the concrete slab in the yard of the complex. Their mother barks at them unnecessarily; they really don’t make that much noise, even for happy, boisterous boys.
I’ve been worried over the last few weeks over our new apartment. Those windows face east and there are no deciduous trees to be seen from the windows. I’m reminded of something only by writing this out. It comforts me, just as it did as I posted about the last apartment; it’s the people who live around me that make the difference, not where I live. Besides, the sun will wake me up in the morning and get me going; I’ll have fewer lazy days in this apartment. For the deciduous trees, there are deciduous trees as we walk out of the building; it will be lovely to greet them.
All in all, we’ve been spoiled by all the space and the green of this penthouse.