To my dear former apartment,
It sends a pang through my heart to add ‘former’ to that greeting, beloved. I still can’t quite believe that you’re no longer mine. You’ve been a part of our family for a little longer than our son; he was conceived within your walls, and though my husband went to sleep the night our baby finally decided to join us on the outside, you were my constant company as I paced back and forward between rooms during contractions. You were our son’s first home.
It was through you that we met our beautiful neighbours: Deb and Pip, who graciously coped with sharing a wall with our noisy newborn and encouraged me as a bewildered young mum; Helen, who loved our son like her own grandchild, bringing him toys (which have run out of batteries now, thank God) and always stopping for a chat each time she saw us; Coco, who supplied us with banana breads and that massive tray of sushi one night at 10pm, telling us it had to be eaten before the next day; Maria, who lived next door and would call out hellos from the garden or her balcony, who twice invited us over to hang out in her glass-filled-and-absolutely-not-child-proof lounge room while she made us fresh orange juice.
If only you’d had three bedrooms rather than two, were on the ground floor rather than the second, had a yard rather than a balcony and were located in the outer rather than inner west, we’d have stayed. Alas...
Our footprints have now been steamed from your carpets and our grubby smudges Magic Erasered from your walls. You are once again a blank stage, ready for the next players to arrive and act out their scenes. You have nothing to remember us by, indeed, no reason to remember us, just one family out of the many who will pass through you over time. I, however, will remember you. I’ll remember family and meals and Bible studies and friends, lessons about motherhood and marriage and growing up. I have these photos now, which show you nearly empty, though I’ll remember you full of love and life. And they show you bathed in warm light, which is how you will remain forever, in my heart.
Farewell, my love.