Adam and I are moving in together. We found this place not too far from where I am living now. It is small but not unaffordable. It’s on the MAX line and easy to get to. Several friends live nearby. It’s not modern and new but it’s not unlovely. It has potential.
I met the woman from the property management office today to sign the lease and pick up the keys. The place was very cold, but no one has lived in the space for months and the door was open. I have to tell myself it will be fine. The windows are new. The place doesn’t look drafty, but maybe I’m wrong.
The agent instructs me to look around the apartment and make a list of the condition of everything, which is standard but always seems slightly insane to me, as if I, the new tenant, should know everything that should or not should not be wrong or usual about the apartment, as if I can catch and record every detail of the apartment so that at some future I can say yes, but it’s always been like this.
She says to take pictures of everything.
The agent suddenly notices that the hatch to the attic is ajar. She tries the backdoor and it’s unlocked. She looks afraid and tells me she believes there may be a squatter up in the attic, that it often happens, that she will show a residence and find a squatter in the vacant unit. She looks nervous but continues to talk loudly, walking around the apartment. I am nervous at first, watching the hatch in the ceiling to the attic, but nothing changes, no one emerges, particularly not the face of Bob the Devil staring down at me like like he stared up at Laura Palmer’s mother. I try to act casual because I would prefer to finish discussing the apartment and leave so that the agent can call the police or the handyman or her muscle or whoever needs to come and ensure that no one is living in the attic.
I’d like to change my ways. This is a juncture in my life where I have to decide to stop saving everything. I don’t need every letter ever mailed to me. I don’t need the postcards on the fridge, the old printer printed photos family members have mailed me, drawings from my young cousins. I don’t need to keep wires to long lost electric blankets, and batteries, and bad earphones, all of which need to be promptly recycled. I don’t need a tiny plastic bag with the three left over cloves from some past baking experiment. These are all the dregs of my life, the detritus found in the back of drawers, the things I meant to throw away or recycle and pushed ever farther back into a drawer until they were forgotten.
The cat will no longer rule this block of North Albina. She’ll need an adjustment period, but at least we have both a front and back door egress to escape through in our new place. The block is tame, but the roads nearby are busy. I worry about raccoons; the neighbors with the birdhouse will worry about the cat.
I’ll have to leave for work a little earlier in the morning. Adam and I will have to be a little more conscious of each other’s space. I have to be neater, tidier. The cat won’t be able to sit in the window to be let in - I’ll have to remember to check for her at night. I’ll be farther from Red Fox - I won’t drink as much, I’ll save money, I’ll vacation in the spring.