Finally, the Saratoga Van Sandts are home! And not just in the sense that we’re finally moved in to our new apartment, but in the sense that I finally feel like we’re really…home. There’s something about this place that just feels right, like it’s meant for us.
I think it’s that our life fits between these walls more naturally; both literally and figuratively. It’s a larger apartment, to be sure, but it’s also a better fit for our way of life. The living room/kitchen area, where we spend the majority of our time hanging out and cooking, is bright and airy. The bedroom is warm and cozy, and has the comforting feeling of an attic, minus the must and dust. Most importantly, we can’t hear anyone coughing from the other side of the walls. It’s exactly right for cuddling in a fluffy bed with husband and kittens. There’s a tiny little office for work, and a sunny porch balcony for grilling. Kyle put up window boxes on the porch railing for me, and I planted flowers in them. Oh, and there’s room for the beloved kegorator, which pairs nicely with grilling on the porch.
Is it perfect? Fuck no! There’s no pantry, the bathroom has not a single drawer in it, and there’s a leopard-print chaise lounge on our front porch. It’s also a little more run-down than our last place; the iron porch railing is starting to show some rust, the carpet is frayed in a few spots, and I’m pretty sure they stole the bathroom lighting fixture from my grandmother’s bathroom, but that’s okay. At this point in our life, most of our furnishings, from the couch we bought at the Salvation Army, to the rug Kyle salvaged from a dumpster, to our entertainment center that consists of two 2x4s across two old speakers, had a life previous to our ownership. We don’t own crazy fancy things, nor are we ourselves crazy fancy, so the fact that our apartment shows some signs of being lived in is fine with us.
Imperfections aside, we really do love our new place, and not just for the place itself. The way that we fit into this building just feels better. In our old building, we could go months without seeing either of our neighbors; at the end of our first day of moving into the new place, we’d already met all of our new neighbors, all of who’ve been extremely kind. There are smiles and pleasantries as we pass by, but no one constantly monitoring our comings and goings or leaving passive-aggressive notes by the front door. We’re not viewed with suspicion as potential trouble, but with interest as potential friends, or at least someone you could live beside. No one’s complained about noise because we’re watching a movie or threatened to call the cops on us because we’re running our dryer late at night or stolen the light bulb out of the porch light because they think we use it too much. They’re just people living their lives as they do, who seem to be okay with us. And believe it or not, being okay with us is all we ask.
So here I am, sitting on my porch balcony with my laptop and a drink and my thoughts. The neighbor girl, with whom I’ve already shared a smile and a few quiet laughs with tonight, is sitting quietly on her own balcony, smoking a cigarette and talking to her cat. Mila’s alternating between chasing bugs and having a stare-down with the neighbor’s cat. And one of these cars that flies from behind the trees lining our yard will be Kyle’s, and he will join me with a beer of his own. And we will be happy.
Because we’re home.
(Now if only we can get the fucking cats to stop peeing on things.)