I moved into my first apartment with my girlfriend of six years. She had often alluded to marriage, but I had dodged like a professional boxer.
But here I was, mid-twenties, and moving out of my parents’ house seemed like the right thing to do.
So instead of breaking up we signed some papers and got the keys from the landlord.
It was a quaint little place with only four rooms and a covered porch. A first floor with high ceilings. A living room with hardwood floors, kitchen with a giant metal cupcake hanging on the wall, tiled bathroom, and a large second-floor bedroom.
The first night it was only boxes scattered on the floor and fast food. I tried to convince my girlfriend to sleep there with me. Sure, we didn’t have a bed yet, but I had brought a couple of sleeping bags. I wanted us to enjoy our first night in our own place. But she insisted on going back to her parents’ house to sleep and I wasn’t surprised.
Her brother was more than willing to hang out though, we were old friends. So we filled the fridge with beer cans and set up my thirteen-inch TV in the living room on top of a couple of boxes and played Madden 2009 on Xbox for hours as we tossed pass after pass in the game, can after can of beer in the garbage.
He left late in the night, but I stayed and let the Madden menu keep playing on the TV, listening to the soundtrack play over the tiny TV speaker. The hardwood floors and high ceilings made the acoustics echo. I stood there swaying to the music, drunk and appreciating the first moment of having my own place, my own freedom. A life milestone.
I eventually crashed on the floor, using one sleeping bag as a mattress, the other as a blanket, the music still playing on a loop. All was right with the world.
When I woke up, my girlfriend was back, along with her parents. Her mom complained about too many beer cans in my garbage. Her Dad was mowing the lawn because I hadn’t done it the first day I lived there and apparently the half-inch grass was an affront to humanity. I walked to the sink to get a drink of water and my girlfriend bitched at me about leaving the empty plastic cup in the sink.
I pinched the bridge of my nose and squinted through a vicious hangover headache, and I knew then, I had made a mistake.
We didn’t live there long, but it really was a beautiful apartment. I still miss it.