Friday marked my one-year anniversary moving into this apartment. I was going to celebrate by skipping out on the rent, then my landlady called to tell me that she mistakenly sent my September rent check to the city with her property tax assessment.
The city didn't seem to mind the extra $750 because they cashed the check, so as a favor to my landlady I'm getting half my September rent back for paying her property tax. But I'm losing the narrative here. I've lived alone in this apartment for a full year. A year that feels only like a few months.
I wasn't certain I could do this when I moved in last October. The first week was a bit frustrating. My phone was hooked up to the wrong apartment. I had to take cold showers for a week while waiting for an appointment to hook up my gas meter. On the day of that appointment the guy who came in to install my gas meter wasn't going to light the pilot to my hot water heater because an overflow pipe was too small. I discovered that my modem was connecting me to the web at 115.2 Kbps, which meant that I didn't really need DSL. Somehow I found myself subscribed to both SBC Yahoo ISP and AOL simultaneously, when I haven't used AOL in years. I had to buy all new utensils and kitchen appliances. I had no television for two weeks, so I had to listen to the Cubs choke in the NLCS on the radio.
Eventually things began to settle down and I found myself acclimating to the apartment. Over the succeeding months I started putting up pictures, posters, and candle sconces. I had some friends over around the Christmas holidays. I still don't clean as often as I should, but the place is always clean for company.
The best compliment I received was when my old roommate came by with some other belongings about two weeks after I moved in. Our last month as roommates was tense. We had agreed earlier last summer that it was time for me to find my own place or else she and I were going to tear each others' heads off.
We were roomates for four years. If you're roommates with someone of the opposite sex for a long time eventually you morph into a married couple with separate beds. Friends begin to assume that in inviting an invitation for one means the two of you. Each becomes annoyed at the other's quirks and bad habits. The act of making yourself scarce so the other can have private time for personal relations becomes harder than to plan for the peace in Iraq.
My problem was making the move. We were both comfortable in that apartment with it's large west-facing bay window in the living room and spacious kitchen. But she had first claim to it, since the lease and all the utilities were in her name.
I wasn't even supposed to be her roommate. What had originally planned as a two week couch-surfing experience became a four-year living arrangement. We compromised on a lot and learned so much from each other. I don't think I could've moved out it if wasn't for her.
On the day she brought the rest of my leftovers to my new place I gave her a tour of the work in progress. We said nothing then just hugged, the tension of the previous three months melting away in a show of appreciation for the time we had, the place in our lives we were at at that moment, and the possibilities of the future.
If I close my eyes it really does seem like yesterday.