This is a reoccurring post that will happen every Friday (until I run out of stories). Enjoy!
The Apartment is an apartment building I lived in for three years. It is in the heart of Boystown on a quiet street, nestled between old brownstones. It is a striking white stone building with an elegant name. When I first stumbled upon it, I couldn’t wait to see the apartments inside. I imagined them being beautiful, big and vintage like the outside of the building.
I called the number on the For Rent sign. Patrick, the building manager, answered the phone.
“Hi! I’m looking for a one bedroom apartment and would like to schedule an appointment to view one.”
“You have few minutes now?”
“Ye…” I was startled by the door slamming behind me. I turned around to see Patrick, a little Indian man with a goofy smile.
“Well, don’t just stand there,” he said.
The smell was the first thing that hit me as he opened the door. It reminded me of my grandmother’s house mixed with cat urine, dead people and mold. It was pungent and thick. The carpet looked like it had never been vacuumed and the wallpaper was peeling off the walls. It was very dark. But the woodwork, it was beautiful.
We walked slowly up the stairs to the fourth floor. It was a long walk. I was out of shape. Sweat beads were forming on my young twenty something head. I’m pathetic, I thought. I could barely talk by the time we reached the top. Thank goodness, Patrick is more of the silent type.
He showed me a one bedroom apartment that was the size of a shoe box. The bedroom was a nice size but the living space was tiny. My loveseat would touch the fridge, which would later become one of my favorite things about the apartment. I never had to stand up to get beer. All it took was a simple lean.
“Is there laundry in the building?”
“Can I see it?”
I didn’t ask again. Despite his tiny frame, Patrick intimidated me. I was going to take his word for it.
The average person would have run far, far away from this building. But me, I fell in love. I could look past the smell (I just breathed through my mouth) and the disgusting carpet and the darkness. It was in a great location and the bedroom had a door. Plus, it was the only place I could afford in the neighborhood. I was forced to have low standards. And I was okay with that.
“I’ll take it!”
The Apartment became my home for the next three years. It was a building of misfits. In a neighborhood of mostly young, gay white men and young straight women, my building was an anomaly. There were lots of old people – one who died in the building while I lived there. After the first year, I realized they moved in during the eighties and never left. Patrick never made the tenants sign leases after the first year or raised rent, which explained a lot. I am convinced some of them were paying at most $300 a month to live there.
My neighbors became the best part about living at The Apartment. They provided endless amounts of entertainment. Oh, the stories I have to tell…
Come back next Friday for the next story in The Apartment Tales!