Sometimes I think back to our little apartment with the glossy word floors that overlooked the pretty little courtyard with the cracked tennis court and million year old swimming pool. Sometimes I would like to go back in time and spend an afternoon there, getting my fill of it just once more.
I miss those walls, caked with years and years of paint (so much so many of our windows no longer opened). Our little sunroom that I would dress up with candles and music for date-night worthy dinners (and nearly setting our kitchen aflame the one and only time I tried to make paella from scratch – but damn if I wasn’t beaming with pride when Pal came home from work on our very first Valentine’s Day to see what I had surprised him with). The way the sunlight flooded the whole place – each and every room. Pal trying over and over to teach me how to play, or even understand, the game of tennis. Eventually we’d call it quits and collect all the tennis balls I whacked out of the court – he would so graciously collect from the woods while I would search the parking lot. Short walks up the block with Elizabeth, or for ice cream, or breakfast, or across the street for fish tacos…. Being walking distance from anything, really. That always got me.
Of course it wasn’t perfect. I jumped for joy when we moved into our house with a yard and laundry room – I couldn’t wait to never have to walk Elizabeth in the freezing cold or trudge across a gravel parking lot with an overstuffed laundry basket in the rain again. But once the boxes starting filling up, leaving our little apartment that much more empty, I knew a little piece of my heart was staying. One of the last moving days we had, before cable was set up in our new house, Pal and I sat in office chairs in front of the television, in an otherwise empty place, and watched the season finale of Grey’s (the one where McDreamy gets shot) and ate salads from Moe’s. Looking back, I didn’t realize the gravity of it all – we weren’t just switching apartments as we had both done so many times before, we were saying goodbye to our first home together and moving into our first house. A house that would bring with it countless memories.
I can’t help but glance into that second story sunroom whenever I drive by, just to see if anyone is inside our old apartment. Our first home, though it mostly felt like we were playing house.