The view is everything

17 Sep


Denver is not a cosmopolitan metropolis, I am finding, but from the balcony of my new apartment, it feels like the most exciting city in the world. From here, the mountains and skyline border my vista. In spite of everything, I feel hopeful.

This apartment was my first stop after arriving at the airport – my driver brought me to Capitol Hill, an old mixed-use, tree-lined neighborhood with a young population. As the driver slowed, so did my adrenaline.

The driver parked in front of a dated high rise that faced west and had a “for rent” sign out front. He followed me into the wood paneled lobby that smelled of stale cigarette smoke. The furniture looked like it had once been expensive.

I found the leasing office, paid the driver who left my suitcases in the hallway, took a deep breath and walked in. I told the leasing agent that I wanted their best vacant apartment.

“It’s your lucky day,” said Todd, the excitable, twentysomething leasing agent. “We have a 10th floor west-facing apartment ready to go. It has a phenomenal view.”

The price was almost right, so I signed the lease on the spot without even looking at the apartment.

In the elevator with Todd, I felt the dust of my rapid escape begin to settle. I felt suddenly overwhelmed and exhausted, and felt even more tired when I realized I had no furniture, and no bed on which to crash. It took the little mental energy I had left to block from my mind the real reason I was here.

Todd handed me the keys and helped wheel my suitcases to the apartment door.

“I got it from here,” I said. “Thanks for all your help.”

When the elevator closed behind Todd, I put the key in the lock and took a deep breath. The door opened into a dark hallway. I pulled in my suitcases and slowly shut the door behind me.

I walked through the hallway, passed a big closet, and turned a corner. In the main living space, sliding glass doors opened to a large, concrete balcony that faced the snow-capped Rockies.

I wandered the apartment, and tried to look past the faded walls and carpentry anomalies.

It was old and dingy.

This was not my home.

Hearing that word in my head brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I swallowed hard and focused on the bright horizon, spotlighted in the late morning sun. I walked out to the balcony, where I could also see the skyline.

The apartment needed a lot of work, but it had good bones and clean lines. With a coat of paint, and luxurious, modern furniture, this place could be fabulous.

Everything I’ve done in the last few days has been for me. Unrequited love, by its nature, inspires self-centeredness and I have spared no expense in my emotional indulgences. This is all I know to do. Somewhere I learned that to deal with this, I am supposed to run away, spend money, “focus on me,” and do everything I can to find the next man.

I stood there, taking in all of Colorado, and tried to feel alive.


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