Things are in boxes.
My dog is stressed out and pressed to my side. A van has been reserved and though everything feels in disarray, I know that tomorrow I’ll be ready to move.
My life was very different when I came to Bed Stuy 4 years ago. I didn’t have a dog. I did have a fiancée. I was only half way through my first master’s degree and the S/O was just starting hers.
We had heard this was a rough neighborhood, but after a year in Harlem where tensions were high due to the first signs of gentrification in that area, this block felt quaint.
I loved the apartment from the start. I had a huge kitchen which is unheard of in moderately priced apartments. The windows overlooked a lush community garden. The neighbors said hello.
We offered our couch up to visitors and friends just getting settled in the city. I cooked a lot. Binge watching occurred.
When I was close to graduating from that first Master’s program, my brother and his girlfriend came to visit. They were only here a day when news came that my father had had a seizure and fallen into a coma. This was my apartment when he passed away. I would cry at commercials that had appropriated classic rock songs because the music reminded me of him, all from the comfort of my couch.
I lived in this apartment when I started a second master’s degree. Eventually, I was able to start teaching and found my calling.
It was in this apartment that my ex and I came to realize that we didn’t belong together. We had just adopted the dog. I kept both the apartment and the dog, determined to prove I could do it on my own, and for a year, I did.
It was in this apartment that I began to find myself again and finally realize that I had never mourned my father in a way that I needed to. I was here when I started dating again and that I began to see my true wants in a relationship. I came home and slept in this room the night I first heard I was being considered for publication. It was on this floor that I first worried that my dog may be beyond my help — and after I took him to a neurologist to find out he was okay, we came back here. I have graded hundreds of papers on my coffee table. And this was where I was when I realized I needed help coping because I deserved to enjoy my life.
I’ve been through a lot while I lived here. It feels like several lifetimes. The hardest things I’ve ever been through happened while I was here, but there was also a lot of joy and positive growth.
I love this apartment, but I know it isn’t my home.
Home is somewhere out there. It is a part of a life I’m closing in on but haven’t arrived at yet. I’m getting there.
And one step at a time, I’m coming home.