end of an era

I know, this title is the worst kind of cliché, but...

My former landlord and very good friend Shon is selling the house where I lived for 8 years. He had an estate sale this weekend, and I went over to pick up a few things yesterday. I was excited about FINALLY having a kitchen table, and a new dresser, but I was unprepared for the nostalgia that punched me in the chest when I walked back into the house.

There was a time when I knew every inch of that house and could walk it confidently in pitch-black darkness. I could remember the story behind so many furnishings, so many pieces of furniture - the non-working organ that a packrat roommate left behind when he moved out, the buffet that Shon bought and painted and sanded so that it looked distressed in just the right way, the time that Shon and another former roommate went on an art-buying spree on eBay.

I was also nostalgic seeing all of my favorite spots in the house. The corner armchair in the living room where Floyd and I liked to read (OK, Floyd napped, I read). The dining room table, where I loved to sip tea and write in my journal - also the site of some great dinner parties. The front porch, where I loved to people-watch and sip beers. The kitchen, where we had many drunken, heartfelt late-night talks.

I remembered so many shenanigans, some hilarious, some maddening. So many roommate fights. So many parties. So many good stories, even if the actual circumstances were very, very bad. This house, with its many inhabitants, is the reason why I feel that I could possibly write a book about roommates (names changed to protect the not-so-innocent). At one time, this house was the stuff of Allentown legend.

Shon and I spent quite a while reminiscing yesterday. We talked about the "Golden Age" of the house, when everyone seemed to be having the most fun with the least amount of damage. Later, as I was winding down, Shon texted me that a former roommate from that Golden Age had died. Jesus. So sad, and so unexpected. And another punch in the chest.

When I went to bed, I found myself lost in memories to the point where someone slammed a door nearby, and I was so surprised to find that I wasn't in my old house, back in that Golden Age where we all sought each other out when we came home. For the most part, we really liked each other. Some of us loved each other, platonically. The word "family" was thrown around with abandon. Even I, the most antisocial, tended to be happy when I heard the front door open.

Even though I moved out more than two years ago, Shon always kept me in the loop, as things went from fun-crazy to just plain crazy - OK, there was quite a lot of "just plain crazy" in my last few years there. And now even those stories will cease. The house will move on to someone else. The stories will happen to someone else.


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