Goodbye, Russell Street.

Today was the last day we had access to our old apartment, an apartment we lived in for four years.

The picture below was taken the first few days we moved in, before our furniture arrived from San Francisco. Tobyjoe was hijacking the neighbor’s wireless network.

That same network is open and available today.

So much happened while living at Russell Street. I saw my early 30s under that roof. I got a job on Madison Avenue and quit it too. I met some lifelong friends. I got pregnant and had my first child while living under that roof. I said goodbye to a dear friend, as well as a beloved member of our family. I became a mother while living there, a fact that still blows my mind.

All in all, it was a nice home. Sure, its walls were totally uneven to the floor and everything leaned to one side. Our son’s toys often rolled north. But nothing in Brooklyn is perfect.

This morning I went over there by myself to finish cleaning and to remove the few remaining items. I went alone.

It was nice being there by myself. I spent most of that time lost in thought, walking from one end of the railroad apartment to the other—a physical timeline—inspecting our years with my hands, trying to remove our fingerprints, erase any proof of our having lived there.

A person can build up a heckuva lot of proof over four years. And that much proof is almost impossible to erase. But I tried.

Change, whether it be good or bad, has always been a funny thing for me. It almost always brings with it a side order of depression. So the last couple of weeks have been difficult. I admitted to Toby Joe just yesterday that I haven’t felt this sad, this emotionally troubled, since the months following Emory’s birth.

This is chemistry I’m talking about here. I have no control over it.

After we hand over our keys today, I imagine that soon they will coat the place with yet another layer of paint. They will cover up Schmitty’s paw prints that sit underneath our old bedroom window. They’ll cover up the holes we drilled into our bedroom door in order to install a latch. They’ll paint over the ghosted picture frame edges, our fingerprints—proof of our having been there at all.

But I reckon that no matter how hard one works to cover it up, pieces of us will remain there forever.

And so I think it’s time I move along, albeit sighing slightly.

Goodbye, Russell Street.

And hello, 2009.

7 Comments

  1. Congrats to all three of you. Moving is one of those stressful things that can always trigger depression for me, even when it’s a move I want to make. You’ll get through this, too, just like you got through it before.

    It’s amazing how much energy and how many memories can exist in the space between four simple walls, isn’t it?

    Happy 2009, Mihow. :-)

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Julie. Your comment means a lot to me. Thanks.

    Reply

  3. What a beautiful apartment!

    I get weepy with every move.. thinking my kids spent x number of years here, and I’m always afraid the memories will be lost. I grew up in one house my entire life. My parents still live there. My oldest son has now lived in five houses. Same area.. it’s just so hard renting. We’re getting ready to move one more time. One final time. Building a house, down the hill from my parents. I’m slow getting our loan application in. I think it is pure fear. Will we be rejected, is the move right, what will it do to the kids?

    Ahh, but I digress. I survive. We enjoy each house more than the one before it.

    Reply

  4. What a lovely post. Very poignant for me – the husband and I have a tendency to move. A lot. We are gearing up for our biggest move yet – from Ireland back to my home region of the Pacific Northwest (he got a job there)- and I am already dreading the depression that will follow. I too like to think a bit of us lives on in all the apartments or houses we have rented.

    Reply

  5. This churned up a lot of feelings and memories for me. I wish I had taken the time to take more photos of our place in Bushwick right before we left, but we were already an hour behind the movers, and I was a mess.

    It really seems that you guys have landed well, though, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that the stress and uncertainty you’ve been dealing with for the last several months is behind you. Take some time to regroup, enjoy your new home, make more memories, and plan for your next step.

    Hope we can get together soon – we miss you guys. XO

    Reply

  6. This churned up a lot of feelings and memories for me. I wish I had taken the time to take more photos of our place in Bushwick right before we left, but we were already an hour behind the movers, and I was a mess.

    It really seems that you guys have landed well, though, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that the stress and uncertainty you’ve been dealing with for the last several months is behind you. Take some time to regroup, enjoy your new home, make more memories, and plan for your next step.

    Hope we can get together soon – we miss you guys. XO

    Reply

  7. this was lovely. really.

    Reply

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