We slept the first night in Apartment 4 on a mattress plopped on the floor of the living room. The fact that it was sans box spring and bed frame mostly had to do with my mother-in-law-to-be, who wasn’t my mother-in-law in any future or past form at that point, just the mother of a boy who she was having a teensy bit of trouble letting go of. She was also having trouble letting go of the pillow-top mattress set she had purchased for said son’s childhood bedroom, which she thought he was moving back into after his first two years in medical school.
While she did ultimately acquiesce to letting him move into Philadelphia for good, the mattress was not allowed to stay, and, as a temporary fix before we brought up the other, less desired mattress from the other, less desired part of New Jersey, Mattress the First was dragged up three flights of stairs and lay directly on the floor, where it graced Apartment 4 for no more than 48 hours.
The positioning of the mattress – in the living room – was the fault of that boy and me, seeing as we’re a little challenged in the home improvement (also: Life, acting like adults, handling our shit) aspect of things. We had air conditioners in both sides of the apartment, but couldn’t figure out how to get one to work (flip the circuit breaker, geniuses!), and so we boycotted the bedroom and positioned ourselves, and the mattress, in the living room, which stayed relatively cool against the thick Philadelphia heat.
I had pictured our move-in day for quite some time, as early twenty-somethings in long-distance relationships who watched a lot of romantic comedies growing up are wont to do, and each and every scene I orchestrated in my head involved: a rolled-up, navy blue bandana tied around my hair like a head band; plain pizza, eaten straight from the box; minutes spent sitting cross-legged on the floor, tired but happy; the painting of one wall a bright yet tasteful shade of yellow, if we had the time and inclination (in my fantasies, of course, we always had the skill.)
Said fantasies, it goes without saying, did not involve: our proven lack of skills of all kinds, dead cockroaches under the kitchen sink, the presence of my boyfriend’s 12-year-old brother, a squabble over a pillowtop mattress set.
But there we were, cockroaches and pre-teens and squabbles and all, with nary a pizza box in sight. I fell asleep anyway, on the mattress, on the floor, in the living room.
The next morning was when we first learned that the sun came directly in from the east through the living room window, making a large puddle on the floor by the wall where the futon would eventually go, and a smaller puddle in the center of the room, marking the spot where the light passing through the small glass square lining the fire exit door landed. I woke up early, from the light and the anxiety and the thrill that comes with moving to a place you’ve thought about quite a lot.
Two years later, I woke up this morning with nearly the same feeling, in nearly the same spot. We still haven’t really figured out how to block the morning light (see above mentioned challenges re: home improvement; this applies to the installation of blinds as well as the fixing of circuits).
Two years later, and we’re sleeping in the living room again, since a nice girl came last night to take away our full sized bed (Bed the Second, the less desired) which she snatched up for $100 on Craig’s List. Here is the bed: from North Jersey, to the subject of a screaming match, up to our fourth floor walkup, and back down and out again; now to you, random Craig’s List girl purporting to be a pharmacology student. Enjoy.
Two years later, and we’re leaving.
I’m beyond terrified – so much so that I’m having a little trouble finding my voice (did you notice?) which is quite a feat since said voice is generally on the whiny – if at least, I hope, funny – side. But I don’t feel funny, or even endearingly whiny (don’t tell me there isn’t such a thing, I don’t want to hear it) these days. I feel stressed and overwhelmed and outright scared in a way I don’t really want to talk about, much like how I didn’t want to talk about the kind of sad I was feeling in April.
So I’m left with this, just change, stripped down to its purest form: the physical heaving and shoving of boxes, the mapping of details and logistics to get from one place to another (with several stopovers in between, if you’re like us, and have three weeks to kill between leases.) When you stop analyzing the consequences of your actions, there’s actually not much else besides the movements themselves, it turns out. Just a bed to be pushed and passed down the skinny spiral staircase of your old apartment, and a new one to be delivered to your next, less lovely but elevator-equipped building sometime in June.
For now, it’s about all I can get my hands around.