First Place (#7)

Writer’s note: Since I posted Setting Up a Home, I feel some details are missing and that I need to expand it and explain more how I was on my own.

When I moved out of Chris’s apartment, I had never thought about what kind of home I wanted for myself. After all, I moved into Chris’s place and not the other way around. He created most of what we lived in and had.

Rachael offered to search for a new home with me. Perhaps, she thought of how difficult it might have been for me to do this after living with Chris for so many years. She had the foresight and wanted to help me through this transition. I was thankful to have someone with me on the search. I just knew that I needed to find a place to sleep. I wasn’t picky.

I heard about Brookline being a good neighborhood so I decided to look there. Brookline was a little bit outside west of Boston. The first place I looked at was a one-bedroom on the ground floor in the back of a brick apartment building near Coolidge Corner.

A woman met Rachael and me at the apartment. She said she was from Russian. She used to live there with her family. They renovated the place themselves while living there. They had wanted to sell the apartment. Hoping for a large profit, I would imagine. But no one wanted to buy it for a few months. So she decided to rent the place out. She offered me a six-month lease.

I liked the size of the place. “Big” enough just for me. I also liked that everything in it was new. The apartment was near the T stop which would allow me to go to work without any problem. The rent was within my price range. I said yes pretty quickly.

Moving out of Chris’s place, I had pretty much no furniture of my own. I had to buy everything and I did it in a hurry. I knew I wanted a nice mattress. Other than that, again, I wasn’t picky.

When I was home, I felt it was so quiet. Too quiet. I didn’t use the kitchen at all because I didn’t have the habit of cooking for one. Besides, it was so easy for me to eat out. I didn’t buy a TV because I didn’t have the habit of watching TV either. I tried to spend my time at home reading. I didn’t touch the windows. I never went out of the locked backdoor which led to a dark parking lot at night. It was mostly a place for me to clean up and sleep.

One night, when I came home from a movie with Chris, I was surprised the light in the living room was on. Chris told me to stay at the entrance. He went inside to check to see if there was anyone still in my apartment. Then I saw the window in the living room facing the dark parking lot was open. Someone had broken into my place, I realized. “You can come in. No one is here.” I walked into the living room then my bedroom. Some of my stuff in boxes, mostly paper, was dumped on my bed. Whoever it was was looking for something. My jewelry box was emptied out. Everything in the box was not expensive however with sentimental values. My laptop and digital camera were gone. I didn’t have anything else worth taking.

Chris called 911. The police came in less than five minutes. She looked around and told me I should file a report. She also said that it was very unlikely that someone would be found for this crime.

After Chris left me, I didn’t feel safe at all at home. I should have avoided a ground-level apartment with a door and a window facing a dark parking lot. It was so easy to break in. I just didn’t think about it.

I notified my landlady who rushed over the next day. She wanted to know if the apartment was damaged in any way. She changed the lock on the back door.

A little while later, she sent me a letter letting me know that she would not extend the lease beyond the six months of the current release. She would appreciate it that I move out on time. I got a sense that she was protective of her apartment and probably wanted to make sure it stayed in its good shape so she could sell it again.

So, after six months, I was looking for a new place again and had to move for the second time within the same year.

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