It’s done. I’ve moved from my beloved apartment, my home for the past two years.
I didn’t feel very emotional about it all last week as I cleaned out closets, gave away clothes and belongings that hadn’t been enjoyed in awhile. I love giving tired items away. It takes me back to high school or college when thrift store shopping was a favorite past time. The more tired, the better. It gives it character, I’d tell myself.
It all started when my brother bought me a Marmot rain jacket/fleece combo for my move to Sarajevo. I’d never spent $300+ for a fleece. Who does that?
That was 2007. This is May 2013.
And what am I wearing as I type this? The silly fleece.
I get why he did it now. One of those big brother lessons.
And maybe that makes me sound contradictory, but good tired items are different from bad tired items.
Wearing this somehow makes Derek feel closer and memories of travel more tangible. I know scientists say that the olfactory bulb causes the biggest swell in memories, but I’m not so sure that textures can’t do the same. Surely the cozy goodness of this garment also has access to the amygdala and hippocampus…
Anyway, I moved. I stared at my apartment in it’s glory for a few moments before disassembling. It’s as if my heart’s connection to the space was being dismantled along with the furniture. With the removal of each piece came an addition of personal peace toward the flame that fueled the decision to move forward and onward.
Every ending is a new beginning, and new beginning an ending. Grief and joy intermixed. Life is funny that way.
I packed up the items I wanted to move with me, and had the movers pack and move all items that I wanted to go into storage. I put all of my treasured items in one area to take inventory of what belongings mean most to me. A fun exercise.
The list: framed photographs — either my own or some inherited from various artists in different countries, a charcoal drawing of a gypsy from Italy, a few portraits of somber women’s faces from an artist I met on a train in Eastern Europe, a bullseye from my first time shooting with Derek (Nailed it! Well, close enough in my book to have counted as a perfect shot) and a settee that I inherited from my grandmother.
The movers asked about what to pack and I stared silently and thought If y’all mess 99% of the stuff up, I don’t really care, but if you hurt these few precious items I’ll, I’ll… I envisioned Mortal Combat moves of heads being ripped off and blood spewing toward the screen. (Yes, I know there have been 1 million + fighting games made since then but that’s the last one I’ve paid attention to. Nightmares growing up.)
Apartment 2417, I’ll miss your 24th floor views. I’ll miss the creak of your wooden floors. I’ll miss storms beating against the old windows, for then I’d smell the rain and be reminded of Texas. I’ll miss the sudden change in shower temperature and pressure that made me so angry in the moment, but always caused me to laugh. I’ll miss having friends over for feasts. And having it to myself as a cocoon.
But most of all, I’ll miss the faces who made it home. The faces who rode the elevator with me each day and the doormen, my uncles, who took care of me and looked after me in the most paternal of ways. I’ll miss my apartment mom April who, for no reason other than that’s how she was, cared for me and checked in consistently.
My parting words with the gem in the picture above, as I rode the elevator down for the last time:
My darling, we’ll miss you. Keep your head up and your camera on. And remember, good bourbon and great sex can turn any day around.
Me and my fleece, we’re settling into the new place just fine.