I have lived in some crappy apartments. I lived above a Vietnamese restaurant with a roach problem that became my roach problem, because my landlord wasn’t actually preemptively spraying the bathroom and kitchen, like he lead me to think was happening. I lived in a building where the landlord refused to do anything about the drugs being sold out of it as well as the fighting of the couple that lived and sold out of their apartment and I rented a room in a home where one of my roommates was a thief.
I fondly remember the day I went to look at my current apartment with my partner of 6 years, the apartment that I was now packing to move out of. The apartment was on the landmark society’s list of old buildings, had hard wood floors, two rooms, and a shower and bathtub. The sun spilled in through the windows of the apartment and onto the hard woods and the place looked like someplace we could call home. Permanently. The apartment was a steal at $1,075 for two bedrooms. It was on a 4th floor, but there was an elevator. There were no signs of pests in the cupboards, there was no mold. I looked at my partner.
“This looks like it could be our forever apartment”, I stated.
“Great. I am so glad”, Loni said.
“Shall we discuss it and get back to Loni?”.
“Let’s do that”, my partner, Brad responded.
“I will be in touch tomorrow”, I said to Loni.
“Great. Call me with any questions.”
“I will thank you”. Brad and I left and went to the brewery that was a few doors down from the apartment building.
“What do you think”, I asked.
“It is a better price and we get more than the other places we looked at”.
“That is my thought too. Shall I start the lease signing process?”.
“Yes. Let’s do it”. So, we signed the lease on the new apartment and started moving our things in. When we had been there two months, we received a letter. We would have to be out in a year. They were selling the building and it was being turned into a hotel. No one had mentioned when viewing the apartment, we would have to move in a years’ time, no one mentioned when we were signing the lease. They let us move in, they took our money, knowing we would have to move. I stopped moving in the moment they sent the letter. We regretted ever signing a lease. Besides being told we had to move out, the plumbing turned out to be an issue, and the elevator was always out of service. Witch brings me to tonight. I staired up the first-floor stairs. I could hear the Swati song 2:00 in the Morning in my head where she sings about having 10 more flights to climb. I didn’t have 10 flights to climb, just four, but, when you are sweaty and have blisters on the heels, four flights feels like 10.
The building elevator had been down for months. I kept trying to get a date of when it would be fixed, just to receive an answer that made it sound like the landlord was trying not to pay to have it fixed. I had to call the city and report the issue. Because my partner was so annoyed by everything going on, he resented living there, and was doing the bare minimum to do his share of household work. I was becoming resentful of him. I decided to look at apartments without him, as I was tired of cleaning up more, doing more, and paying more. Anything I said to try to get him to do his share went in one ear and out the other. It lead me to look at a new apartment with a friend from work, and accept it. The apartment was smaller and more expensive than where I was now, but I would be across from a museum, in a nicer area, closer to work, and on a first floor. The day I signed the new lease, my lovely friend and co-worker, Milly, and I celebrated at a restaurant in my new neighborhood, over expensive yet tasty plates of chicken French, and multiple glasses of Rose.
I was relieved that I would be living alone again, but, at the same time, I hadn’t lived alone in years. It would be nice to only clean up after myself, and only have my things around the apartment. I lived alone for so long before being part of a couple. There are things my partner becomes annoyed with like my use of scented candles, my use of perfumes, the way I fill the dishwasher even. Perhaps having separate living situations would help him to see how much better he had it living with me, as he would be moving back to his small town, 40 mins away from his jobs, to live with his Grandmother, and closer to his Mother, who since we have been together, knows how to get on his last nerve.
Let me tell you, nothing feels as good as getting the keys to a new apartment. A new apartment is full of promise. My old landlord had provided me with empty promises, but there is nothing better to opening the door to a new apartment, on a sunny day in June. The apartment may need a little tidy, but there is nothing more beautiful than the sun shining in on an empty hard wood floor, and a vision of what your life will look like in the future, in your new place.
I could see friends sitting around my apartment, sipping wine and eating tapas. I could see a get together and me cooking for Milly who was more excited about the apartment than me and who had been so helpful in me acquiring it. I could see movie nights, and holidays spent with family. I could hear the voices of my nephew and nieces opening gifts from me. The old apartment may have been full of empty promises, but I was ready for the promises that this new apartment would bring.