Walking into the apartment, my roommate and I are hit with the stale smell of last night’s cigars and just-dried paint. Neatly piled on the floor of the empty living room is the bottle of wine and mini bottles of alcohol we consumed the previous evening – no point in moving them to the new place. Along with those remnants of our farewell drinks are some of the remaining cleaning supplies, the cans of leftover paint and other items we’ve returned to discard. The things we couldn’t bare to lug back with us the previous evening.
At 25 years old, we are moderately irresponsible adults. Rather than spending the last few weeks slowly packing up the last three years of our lives, we put it all off until the last night to do it in one final sprint before the movers showed up Friday morning. Perhaps it was our way of holding on tight to our first adult apartment, not quite ready to abandon our cozy, Upper East Side home for the much cooler and more convenient Chelsea digs (though let’s be real, we were itching to get out of the nexus of recent college grads and strollers).
It took all night, but we packed those boxes and managed to snag a few hours of sleep before the movers arrived. They swept through the apartment tossing our smaller boxes into bigger, more efficient ones, and ran them down the five flights of the walk-up like magic. So happy we weren’t the ones doing it. In what felt like a minute, the apartment that had collected so many gadgets, clutter and memories was near empty. My roommate and I scooped up our smaller and more valuable items that we couldn’t risk putting in the hands of someone else and jumped in a cab to meet the movers at our new home.
Unsurprisingly, we also hadn’t budgeted any time to paint the walls back to the bland white that would get us our much-desired security deposit back. Luckily, we had held on to our keys since the lease wasn’t up until that Monday. Regardless, we still ended up waiting until Sunday evening to get to work. Coming from drinks on the Upper West Side, we bribed a friend to pick up the paint at the local hardware store before it closed at 5pm. As one can infer, it was dark out on that January 31st evening, so we got to it with the two lights left in the apartment – one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen, neither of which was where we had to paint. Though it’s not quite how we pictured passing the first Sunday night after our move, that’s where we found ourselves. Two cans of paint and two light bulbs.
After we finished coating the green walls we had painted two years earlier on one chilly, fall Saturday night on a whim, there wasn’t much left to do but open a bottle of wine that had been left behind. It was the bottle of Cigar Zin we had picked up on a girls’ trip to Napa. A pricier bottle to us at the time, we had been saving it for a special occasion where the suitable cigar pairing would be deemed appropriate and, well, this seemed right.
Sitting there well into the night, we worked our way through the wine talking about all the memories of the last three years and all of those before that. We’ve known each other since we were three years old, so there is always much history to rehash and dissect. Eventually the bottle emptied itself and the cigars smoldered to the end. After one daring look, we finished off the airplane bottles of tequila and vodka that were in the freezer, packed up and headed to our new home.
The next morning we came back one more time to dump the trash, lug our unwanted belongings to the thrift store and say goodbye one last time. The white walls signaled that it no longer belonged to us and took the sting off of shutting the door behind us with the keys left on the counter. We trucked the last of what was there down the five flights of stairs, bequeathing our charmed, fresh-to-the-city life to the next tenants.
Emily Long is the Co-Founder of Quarterlette.com, an online magazine for 20-and-30-something women who are navigating their quarter lives. She is a graduate of Penn State University’s College of Communications, lives in Brooklyn, likes to run and has spent the last 8 years exploring all the wine and live music the world has to offer.
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