Our First Place

We rented the top floor of a place in the Museum District: from front to back. I had a study at the back of the house that faced the trees. I liked shuffling in the early morning from our bedroom at the front all the way to the study at the back, next to the kitchen, perfect for making a cup of tea.

I wrote the majority of Whores on the Hill here.

We squeezed a picnic table onto the fire escape, strung it with lights and called it a back porch. It was long and narrow, but it was covered and there was a good breeze in the evenings. Morning glories grew up the white railings. The air smelled sweet. You could sit out there and smoke. I don’t smoke now, but I did then and thoroughly enjoyed smoking on the back porch, even in the rain. It was good for parties.

We lived in the Museum District, which is a little quieter than the Fan. There was a bar on the corner and a late-night bodega that sold milk, eggs and beer. You could walk to the musems and to the park. Sometimes, if I was feeling particularly ambitious, I could walk to work.

I thought it was really great, living together. Better than I ever imagined. I cooked for him, sometimes. Or we went out. He cleaned up after himself. He did his own laundry. We never fought. He was helpful and resourceful. He found me a free computer when mine broke, took my car to the shop, pumped out the basement when it backed up and overflowed.

When my sister came to visit from California, we were cooking Thanksgiving dinner and the heat went out. The apartment plunged to thirty-nine degrees, but we had fun anyway. It seemed like we were always having fun: even though we didn’t have any money or a dishwasher or heat.

He said, How about we buy a house? And I said, Okay.

Without a moment’s hesitation.

I was nervous and scared, of course, because I always am, a constant jumble of nerves, but it happened so fast, before I knew it, we were buying a house and packing up the apartment and saying goodbye to that life, our brief one year in the Museum District apartment.

I stood in the backyard, sweaty and dirty from moving boxes into the truck, I looked at the morning glories climbing up the trellis and thought, This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

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