The last thing I did before moving out of my apartment was knock a tall bottle of Wild Turkey, which had been sitting on top of the fridge for years, onto the floor that I had just spent an hour scrubbing. It shattered, the vile liquid spreading like a layer of filth across the gleaming, Murphy oil coated wood. “Dammit,” I cried, ripping my headphones off my ears.
After three days of sorting through my possessions, finding old diaries that read like amateur compositions, throwing junk away, and then, finally, cleaning so that the apartment was in top condition, I was ready to get the fuck out of there forever. When it had been furnished, and I knew that I was leaving, the apartment had been a heartbreak. As I tore it apart, it became a nuisance, a dead weight. I wished that I could pack a suitcase full of old photographs and my favorite dresses, close the door, and leave everything else there to rot or be collected.
I would never have done that, however, because it would have been an imposition on my landlords, who lived on the first floor. For the past six years, they had become something of a family to me. I had watched their older daughter, Brittany, become a teenager. I had been there through the birth of their youngest girl, Summer, who is now rotund and jovial. She says my name “Brie-EN,” with an emphasis on the last syllable.