“Describe a “first” (first apartment, first kiss, first time driving a car, first lie, first big success, first roller coaster ride, first time in this setting). Include as many details as possible, being sure to include an aspect relating to each of the five senses.”
Cardboard boxes sopped beneath the weight of pouring rain. Ringlets of hair began to escape from the confines of my bandanna and I forcefully pushed the sticky strands back with my wrist, trying to haul as many leftover boxes as I could off the porch and into the one-room apartment that was now home.
For much of the day I was able to push aside any apprehensions of living alone out of my mind. Hauling crates up a flight of stairs didn’t afford much chance to think about anything else. But helping hands had long since gone and I was left alone with my thoughts. Worries began to play somersaults in my mind.
I glanced around at my meager surroundings. It certainly was a first apartment, no mistake about that. A musky scent of nicotine was in the air, a parting gift from the last resident. You could walk across the place in twenty paces, easy. The whole unit had a yellowish tint to it, reminding me of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s character and left me wondering if I would share her crazed fate. Socked feet slid easily across the linoleum floor. I hate linoleum, but for $425 a month a fresh grad didn’t have much choice.
The most striking feature of my new home was its emptiness. Of course it was filled with cellophane wrapped worldly possessions, but I’m talking about the emptiness that comes from a lack of companionship. College dormitories always have a hum about them, don’t they? There’s always a door opening or closing, someone coming or going, a friendly face passing by in the hallway. And, here? Nothing. All my neighbors were carefully sectioned off, living their own lives and blithely ignoring the other sectioned off neighbors around them.
Most adults likely feel independence with rent to pay and a utility bill in their name, but I felt sinking loneliness. Call it the extrovert’s curse. I didn’t have to maintain any young adult bravado for anyone, so there was no point in stopping my bottom lip from quivering. And there wasn’t any point in stopping huge alligator tears from streaming down my face. And, while I was at it, there wasn’t any point in stopping myself from writing a horrible depressing poem in my journal (which has since been destroyed).
But, wait. I was finally living on my own. I didn’t have an RA pushing me to her next event or a curfew to abide by. There wasn’t anyone stopping me from driving to the grocery store to buy break-and-bake cookies, baking half of the dough and eating the rest. When the smoke detector went off, I didn’t have to file outside and wait for the fire department to arrive. I could nail as many holes in the wall for my interior design plans as I liked.
A surge of responsibility began to invigorate me
Maybe living on my own would have its perks, after all.