124 2A

Although Andrew and I have basically been on one long first date, and most of our time was spent at each other’s apartment at the beginning of our relationship, our first true apartment together was 124 2A. I’m sentimental, though I’m sure you’ve gathered given that I’m dedicating this post to a cluster of rooms. From the moment we realized we’d have to leave 124 2A, I cried for the chapter of our relationship that was soon to be over.

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The first thing we brought into our new apartment: string lights.

We must have toured it at just the right time of day because the living room was lit up with natural light, something we’d come to learn was a rare occurrence. I remember touching the counter in the bathroom and looking at the shower thinking, “I could take showers there... bath bombs, too.” I’d never had a tub before. I remember thinking of how cool it was that we each had our own closet. And being nervous about not having a washer and dryer yet and how the entire unit was carpeted. All of those things would work themselves out. 





We got so much furniture from family, including an old faux leather sofa that was constantly peeling. But before the sofa and the furniture, we sat on a bean bag and an old office chair to watch tv. We ate our dinners at the coffee table. Andrew's old tv was propped up on a Yeti cooler he got in college and some textbooks to help balance it out. I thrifted most of our decor. When we finally got a real TV stand, we built it wrong and the lower half was built inside out. We'd spent so long putting it together that we didn’t bother fixing it. I said one day I’d paint the raw edges black to match, but I never did. 





Our bedroom evolved from piles of clothes organized on the floor to slowly accumulating hangers. Our bed was pushed up against a wall until we got a frame. Then we got dressers and a mirror. We graduated to a bed at the center of the room because that’s what bedrooms look like on tv. 







We got into arguments and in those moments the apartment I once found spacious wasn’t big enough. I’d go for walks around the complex but always ended up back inside. 

The pool was almost always closed during the summer for cleaning or renovations and it’d close too early in the season. Alabama stays hot enough for swimming well into November. When we’d make it to the pool we’d sneak canned wine and beer, ignoring the signs about no alcohol. Craft beer cans aren’t telling anyway. I fell in love with plants and started turning our patio into a jungle. I read books and drank coffee on that patio. Sometimes I’d sit out there and just exist, staring into the woods and listening to the insects and the birds make their noises. This is before the car wash cut down the forest and started filling the air with the harsh sounds and smells of vehicles being power washed. 





A bird made her nest on the electrical box outside our door and laid her eggs. At first she would fly away when we’d be at the door. But soon she recognized us and didn’t leave. We learned her schedule, she learned our voices. We always said hi and goodnight. She was always home by 6pm. 

Toads were our nightly visitors on the patio, especially when it was rainy. They favored the spot by our sliding door, behind my now trailing pothos. We named each of them— there were three. When we got a bird feeder, our patio was host to all sorts of critters. Seed would spill over the edges of the feeders and the chipmunks would come out to clean up after the birds on the ground. There was a cat that would come scavenge for food around the complex that we named Socks. We daydreamed that Socks would come to our door and live with us, leaving the life of scavenging for food and shelter behind.



I used to go for walks around the grounds after some good rains. The creek that cuts through the property would really come to life and I loved watching the water critters do their thing as they passed through the complex. I loved walking along the creek and looking at all the colorful mushrooms growing along the banks. It was easy to forget that I was a two-minute walk from our door. I took some of my favorite blog photos around this creek and its bridge.



We got one good snow before the car wash moved in and it looked like a scene in a snow globe. We carved pumpkins two Octobers in a row. We only ever got one trick or treat-er. Still, we bought candy every year knowing we’d be the ones to eat it. We put up a Christmas tree that stayed up until the Following June, but our Halloween decor never got taken down. Every Valentine’s Day and anniversary we’d get a pizza and sit on the floor and watch a movie. Every Halloween we’d each pick a horror movie. We always fell asleep during the second one so we argued about whose movie to watch first.







Our kitchen was so small, but we learned to cook for ourselves. Our refrigerator slowly grew busy with the magnets we picked up on the trips we went on. We eventually started putting them on the dishwasher. I couldn’t reach past the first cabinet shelf and despite swearing I would, I never got a step ladder. 





/// miscellaneous memories ///

When it wasn’t rainy, the mosquitoes would eat you up, but those old Alabama woods had a charm of their own. I would breathe in the thick air and for a moment pretend nothing else in the world existed. 

There was a big tree whose roots broke through a nearby sidewalk and walking around that tree, mindlessly balancing on the broken cement sidewalk, and hopping from root to root became my go-to activity for phone calls.

Walking around at night while talking to my best friends, telling scary stories, retelling creepy podcasts, and conspiracy theories. 

Every window would sweat when it got cold outside.

The shaggy carpet that swallowed anything that fell onto it and the bliss of finally splurging on a new vacuum.

The time Andrew almost set the apartment on fire when he tried to flambé something and the subsequent phone call trying to convince two firefighters the fire was out and we were ok.

The complex planted trees in front of building numbers, so our packages and pizza deliveries always got lost.



That patio would flood if it even drizzled.

Staying outside when there was even the slightest chance of snow, hoping to catch the flurries that rarely came.

Christmas lights strung up everywhere.

Getting over my fear of setting up my tripod to take blog photos of myself in front of curious people.

I hated making the bed.



For three years we got mail for the previous tenants.

Nag Champa burned frequently.

Our neighbors at the next building over that we loved. We’d stand out there and shit talk management forever.

Our washer was tiny and our dryer took forever to dry things.

Andrew left his balled-up socks everywhere. I was no better.

My grow lights made our apartment purple during the winter. I made many weed jokes.

Welcome mats only lasted a year. We went through three.



Every winter we played a game where we tried to go as long as we absolutely could without turning our heat on. 15 degrees outside, but it was a game to us and we didn’t wanna throw in the towel.

Our overly sensitive smoke detector that ate up batteries.

The wainscoting in the dining room that I loved.

The chandelier.



We rarely ate at the dining table. Instead, it played host to junk mail and Amazon boxes.

Our gym was right across the street and I don’t think I’ll ever find a gym that great again.

The cheap paint that marked way too easily. I know they did that on purpose. There were streaks of red anywhere my polished hands would graze a wall.

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I could go on forever.

Thank you, 124 2A, you were the best first home we could have asked for.








1 comment

  1. This is such a beautiful and heartfelt post Tina! It's so beautiful how many special memories you have in your place and that all the flaws of the apartment were special to you and Andrew. I hope your next place is as special, if not more, than this apartment! <3

    Jill
    https://jilliancecilia.com/

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