A bit about my first apartment
I found my apartment by going to Apartment Search in Uptown. I met with someone who showed me listings in the area. The Belmont was the first apartment building I looked at, and I fell in love with it. The old charm, haunted history, and proximity to everything the magical city offered won me over instantly.
“I think this is perfect,” I said.
“Are you sure?” the property manager, Grace, asked?
“Oh yeah, I love it,” I mused, already envisioning calling it home.
Each apartment had two doors – one green, slatted door that could be closed with a small metal hook, and a standard heavy wooden door with a deadbolt. Inside the studio apartment, which was $550 per month, $595 with cat rent, there were large, screened windows with shutters that pulled opened and fastened with a metal hook on the wall. A white ledge ran the length of the windowsill, and that’s where I would sit and keep my ashtrays. It’s where I would smoke cigarettes and watch people and traffic, and gaze at the Minneapolis skyline. It’s where my cat would somehow fall onto the sidewalk, and survive. Where I would watch ballet classes in the studio across the street. It would be the place I would go to imagine being somewhere else, as though my windows offered a portal to anyplace I could dream of. It would be the ventilation for any number of smells – whether it be toxic fumes from my future roommate Joslyn’s fake nails, or a dinner disaster. And when I wanted to shut out the world, I would slide the windows down, unhook the shutters, and bring them together, chasing the light away and enclosing myself in the darkness and quiet, and calm, where I couldn’t be found – sometimes even by myself.
A chain of paper suns decorated the perimeter of my apartment near the ceiling. They smiled down on me. I had picked them up in a party supply store. They didn’t exactly fit, but they made me happy. I guess I didn’t really care if anything matched. I had my own little space – a studio apartment in Uptown Minneapolis. There I was, in the middle of an artistic, urban Mecca. I could do anything I wanted! So I decorated my apartment with paper suns. I had never had this kind of freedom before – nobody to tell me what to do, how to dress, what language was appropriate or not, and if I was allowed to pierce my nose on not one, but both sides. My giant water bed, with a regular mattress, took up most of the main room in my studio. A picture of myself as a child was propped up on the top of the built-in dresser in the short hallway from the main room to the bathroom. I didn’t have anywhere to hang my clothes, but I didn’t have many. And they fit in the drawers, with room to spare. Over the summer, I would dump my mail into one of the lower cupboards and neglect it in favor of beer, rollerblading, and exploring without restrictions or parental complaints. On the top, I placed things that I liked to look at: my Little Bo Peep porcelain doll, doilies that I collected, perfume bottles (some empty), a porcelain Cinderella figurine that I got from Disneyland, a wooden frame that my great-grandfather had made (without a picture), a few textbooks that I couldn’t bear to sell back to my college at the end of the semester, and a rough poem I wrote from the heart. This gap between being in the church, caring for my younger siblings, and living at home under strict rules, and becoming a single mother would last approximately three months. I was 18, shifting from one world to another. Moving between walls of definition, I twirled, and I transformed – so quickly it was like riding a wobbly unicorn on a carousel in the middle of the night, as it flew off its base into an improvised scene from Alice in Wonderland.