In ever particle of dust flitting in the air or piece of old paper we crumple up as we rest from a full week of packing and planning, there’s a memory. In every piece of lint we’ve wiped from counters and baseboards and in ever dust bunny that seems to scurry from our brooms, there is a memory.
Thursday night was the last night in our first apartment together as a couple. Two hearts joined here under one rented roof. We’ve called this place home since the summer of 2004 – much longer than we had anticipated. We’ve seen good and bad here, but mostly good. And for all the not-so-good, there have been good lessons and reminders, so I guess you can’t call anything we’ve experienced really bad.
Behind the glossy black door of the accessible unit on Hidden Ridge Lane, many things were revealed and many barriers broken. We opened many minds about what ‘accessible’ really means beyond architecture. Many bonds have been made here that we will pack with us among the many boxes. A loving partnership deepened into marriage in spite of Bryan being mistaken many times for being my attendant or my ‘special roommate’.
Job changes and fluctuations in the economy tested our resolve. Dreams were dreamed and realized with still others to come. There was a temporary sick bed for me and my loving caregiver who got me strong again for ‘the next leg of our journey together’ so I could take care of him like I promised I would on our wedding day – even if it is with one leg-and-a-half and two wheels. We survived two home invasions just in the last 20 months, and even more welcomed visitors over the last six yars.
We’ve made many dinners here, done many loads of laundry and talked away nights doing bandage changes on the foot I no longer have, before dozing to the sounds of late night cars pulling into the parking lot out front we wished was our front yard instead. We’ve gazed at the pinkish night sky that never got completely black because of Uptown Charlotte lights just over the rise. For all of these things, I am grateful. The apartment may not have been 100% accessible to me, but we learned to adapt together.
Across the street, mall security knows us on sight for the countless weekends we saw a movie or had dinner. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police remember us for not the greatest reasons because of two home invasions where I was home and Bryan at work, but we will be missed they tell us.
When others recall an old homestead they think of the penciled in growth charts behind a door on the wall, a dent in a wall or a tree planted there. We’ll remember the many times I ran into baseboards or a door with my wheelchair, the many times I backed into a wall trying to quietly go get a glass of water while Bryan snored the night away, then running into the bed on the way back and waking him up with a start.
This was our first Foster home, pun intended, but not our last. Now we move on to the next more accessible home, in quieter but bigger space, that has our name on the deed this time and clean spaces to make dusty, cluttered (but not as much) and loved all over again.
Good night Apartment. Good morning House. Welcome home to Us. Hello to a bright new adventure.
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