Bye-Bye, Apartment 2C

An Ode to My First Apartment in Philadelphia

I said goodbye to my apartment on South Carlisle Street on Saturday. To be honest, it was more sweet than bitter. As I locked my apartment’s door for the last time, I knew a chapter had been closed. The memories of my first year of law school would, of course, remain within me. Deep within me, for that matter. But there came a profound sense of liberation when I stepped out of that place.

I will forever remember some features of apartment 2C. For one, a family of mice had become regulars in my kitchen. They were shy, at first. Whenever I’d make a noise, they’d run away, probably afraid I’d eat them alive. But, as time went by, they became more comfortable with me. Whenever I’d sit at my dinner table — rushing through a meal — they’d calmly appear. They probably knew I was either leaving soon or too tired to deal with them. In retrospect, they were right. There was no way in hell I’d spend a second trying to get my landlord to help me out. He or she wouldn’t do anything. (To this day, I don’t even know who was my landlord.)

There was also a constant, twenty-four seven beeping sound. I still don’t know where it came from. At times, I convinced myself that it was happening in my imagination. (That generally occurred during the crazier moments in my semester.) But I could swear that it came from somewhere close to my apartment. Perhaps it was some emergency alarm gone wild in a neighboring apartment building. In any case, I won’t miss it. It kept me up at night sometimes. That was, obviously, not all that pleasant.

I’ll never forget the evening when my intercom starting ringing at four o’clock in the morning. This happened in the later months of winter. I’ve probably repressed exactly when because, well, I was sleeping a few seconds before it happened. Somebody was obviously trying to get inside my building. I could hear a person shout from outside. “Let me in!” the person cried, “Let me in!” I always had a feeling that a few sketchy folks were living in my building. So the thought that immediately crossed my mind was that this person was seeking his nightly fix. I was of no help, unfortunately. And from that moment onward, I had a feeling it was time to go.

I don’t think any single moment will beat the morning there was a police raid in my building. My girlfriend and I were in my apartment, cooking pancakes for my birthday. The intercom started ringing again. It wasn’t four o’clock in the morning this time, but I figured it’s never too early to buy some fun on a Monday. I peaked outside in hope of seeing the wrongdoer. Instead of seeing any one person outside, there was a horde of police cars right outside my building. Bingo. Something was up. And I was definitely going to perform my civic duties. I ran to my building’s door — wearing nothing but my bathrobe. When I opened the door, I immediately started shaking in fear. Philadelphia cops are not just scary. They’re also seven feet tall and three hundred pounds. (That’s how they seemed that morning, at least.) They handed me a warrant and asked: “Do you know this cat?” The man on the picture looked terrifying. But I couldn’t quite situate him in my mind. I told them that I didn’t recognize him, but that they should feel free to raid the entire place if they felt like it. Never had I been so proudly submissive to the demands of another person.

All in all, there wasn’t a dull moment spent in my first apartment in Philadelphia. Sure, it was tough and the time was ripe for cutting the cord. There were (too many) moments when I’d wish my fellow neighbors wouldn’t smoke cigarettes and weed in the hallways, for instance. But, now that I’m gone, I realize it had some charm. The type that comes with new beginnings and a brighter future.

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