The Last Night.
I am sitting in my apartment, sweltering, because my insane brain thought it would be wise to have all the lights on in my apartment while I packed.
Packing. Tonight is my last night in my first apartment that I’ve ever had completely independently. I can’t say I have that many fond memories of this place, considering nothing very exciting ever happened here and the only person who has actually ever really seen it was my mother and that wasn’t until nearly nine months after I had moved in.
When I moved to New Jersey last summer (it feels much, much longer than that – as I suppose living in New Jersey would), I had no idea what or where anything was. Names of cities held no meaning to me – except for that infamous one just south of me (Begins with N and ends with an “ark” and has the oh-so-fitting “ewwww” in the middle) – so I spent countless hours staring at maps of northern New Jersey trying futilely to acquaint myself with an area of the state I had been to for exactly five hours.
Two days after I flew to New Jersey, my dad arrived and helped me settle in. We found my car and while I was at work, he went off in search of my apartment. Yes, you read that right. I started my job before I found a place to live. I think that demonstrates quite well my commitment to my job – either that or my completely and utter insanity.
On my fifth day of living in New Jersey, which at this point was me sharing a hotel room with my dad, I stumbled upon a corporate website for a company that owns several apartment complexes in New Jersey. I called them and asked if they had any available apartments in the area and in my price range and lo and behold, they did!
About a week and a half later, I moved in.
The first night was scary. I had no furniture, except for my mattress and some bedding. The apartment is rather large, and it made strange noises. A fan whirled intermittently throughout the night (and I have yet to figure out where the hell it’s coming from – I can’t see a vent anywhere in my apartment) and the complex is about fifty feet away from the railroad tracks.
I have a hard enough time sleeping in a nice, comfy hotel room so imagine my sleepless nights and near panic at the prospect of having to stay here.
But over time it grew on me. It was conveniently located to work and right down the street from a CVS, which made getting my diabetes medication fairly easy. It’s also right next to a park and since the spring, I have enjoyed walking around the lake and making late night trips to Dunkin Donuts.
I never really decorated it the way that I wanted to. I’ve bought a handful of pictures from Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond and I put up a ribbon bulletin board near my front door and decorated it with pictures of my family, my high school friends and even some of my O.C. friends, like George and Scott and the OCapalooza gang. Although I love all my furniture, especially my red couch and even my ironing board, it never really felt like home.
Just a place I lived. I liked it well enough but it certainly wasn’t a place I was going to stick around forever.
Tonight, when I was loading up my car with my deconstructed IKEA desk (boy was that fun!), my upstairs neighbor heard me opening-and-shutting-opening-and-shutting our shared front door. Thinking I was her son, she came out to the top of the staircase and we started chatting. I told her I was moving.
“Already?! It’s only been a year,” she exclaimed.
I’m sorry, but I’m almost 23 years old. In my world, a year is a long time. Especially a year living in the suburbs. I told her I wanted to be closer to the city and she seemed to understand. I am “young,” as people keep telling me. I’m not sure what being young has to do with wanting to live near the big city. New York City is why I moved to the East Coast. I don’t think I need to defend my desire to live close to it.
The concept of home seems rather fluid right now, and I’m sure it will stay that way for while. I’m curious though, at what point in your life did you feel you were “home”? Was it after you were married? Bought a house? Had children? Was your home a physical location or did you relate it more with a person or a lifestyle? Just curious.
I titled this post “The Last Night” because this is my last night in my apartment. But in all honesty, this feels more like a beginning than an end. I’m not sad, but instead I’m filled with excitement, an electricity that’s pulsating through me at the thought of all the possibilities my life has right now.
Whatever happens, I hope you will be here to share it with me.