I stumbled upon this post the other day and my mind started spinning. A whirlwind. It brought me right back. Honestly, before THAT apartment I would have had no clue what this lady was talking about. I would have had no clue. But I got it instantly. Click.
It was years ago. I was in the midst of one of the most difficult times of my life. Going through the break up of a seven year relationship with a man I should have never spent that many years with. But still, heart wrenching at the time. We were living in Oakland then (yeah, that'll never happen again, don't fret). I stayed in our old house for a few months but started feeling isolated from my friends and job and felt the pull of San Francisco, of being surrounded by people and noise and life and change. I looked in the city for MONTHS. Rentals were through the roof plus I had my *slightly* unfriendly rescue pup as a roomie and landlords in this expensive as hell city do not like dogs. I barely found anything. I scoured craigslist every hour. I was a day away from signing a lease for far too much money, with far too little space and an awkward layout. I was scheduled a double at work and I was THIS close to not making the last apartment viewing I had before I signed that lease.
But I went. I don't know why. I just did. People who know me know that's not my normal style. I don't normally show up, face it people. But, that day, I did. I raced over after the first half of my day. It was on the corner of California and Baker, in the heart of Pacific Heights, a neighborhood I had no idea about and had barely ever been. But I parked my car, in a mad rush, and I dashed into that big building. And I never ever looked back.
As apartments go it was just a normal apartment. Wood floors, white walls. But that white, it wasn't the normal SF beige. It was actually white. A white that I could live with. The kitchen was tiny, with painted countertops, the worst thing in the world. But there were brand new double pane windows. And it was on the fifth floor with this amazing afternoon light flooding in from the west. When you looked out you knew that it was a straight shot to the ocean, and beyond. It felt like air, and breath, and space. There was a dining room (gu-gasp) that could accommodate the amazing farmhouse table I had just scored on craigslist, a break up gift to myself no doubt. And there were two closets, one just big enough to squeeze my double bed and a lamp. But it was more than all of that. It was a feeling. It just felt right. I've never had that feeling about an apartment before and I haven't had it since. I didn't hesitate. I knew. I signed the lease on the spot. And then I dashed out the door, back to work where I still remember telling my then-very-big-crush that I had finally found a space in the city.
This is when everything in my life started to change. I changed. It was magic, that apartment. It looked out onto the world. I used to curl up in my big chair facing the ocean and just sit. My crying was done. I'm sure I did, but I never remember crying in that apartment. I remember being ok with being alone, just me and my dog. I remember the first day, fog swirling (I was so unacquainted with the SF fog that day. Had never lived with it. But I knew that first day that it was true love, me and that fog.) walking the dog through the neighborhood. Old Victorians and parks and a coffee shop. California Street itself was loud and busy. Two blocks up was another story entirely.
I fell hard for that neighborhood that first day. Pacific Heights is not a cool neighborhood to fall for amongst the hipster, hippie, ultra liberal SF community, trust me. It's all old money white people. I didn't care then and I don't care now. It is by far my favorite neighborhood in the city because of that first walk through the quiet foggy streets. I still drive by that building and get wistful. It is possibly my favorite spot in the entire city of SF for what it brought me. Calm and peace within myself after years of inner turmoil. A space I looked forward to going home to, alone. A man who is, quite possibly, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Late nights playing monopoly and drinking wine. Late nights drafting for my first interior design class. Late nights watching tv (after not having a tv for seven years!) and not feeling guilty at all. Late nights walking Ponyboy off his leash through darkened quiet vacant city streets. Those months were pure heaven. I think that Justin and I would have stayed there, in that tiny apartment, if it had just one more closet. I think we would have made it work there. We tried for a few months because I think we were both so smitten with it. But, in the end, we needed more space and we left, together, two years ago today.
I'm sure it was a combination of so many factors in my life but, in my mind, it's all because of that apartment. That magical, wonderful apartment.
The photo quality is awful but I can't help myself. I'm still crushing hard on this place. Especially now after looking at the photos. My furniture fit so perfectly here! It's never fit anywhere else like that. Damn.