Last night, I dreamt that I returned to my old apartment in Uptown. It was an autumn day and the sun shined warmly in my south-facing apartment. My old apartment was a 1950s style efficiency with a walk-in closet that you had to enter to get to the large bathroom with pink wall tile, aluminum florescent mirror lights, and white paint. There was a little kitchenette to the southwest corner where you would stand in one place to cook or do dishes. Counter space was at a premium, but you could shut the door behind yourself and hide in the kitchen-closet. The main living space felt large when you entered it, with its wood floors and large windows across the room, which took up over half the wall. The 2-seater cloth couch, or loveseat, sat across a faux pearl aluminum table, which fit the 1950s motif. I have many happy memories of this place.
In my dream, I came home to my apartment, but it was cluttered, so I set about cleaning and organizing the place. I collected the laundry, made the bed and cleaned the kitchenette. The refrigerator was mostly empty except for a jug of milk and condiments. When I opened the overhead cabinets, I was surprised to discover three rotisserie chickens! I was also surprised that they didn’t smell. I took them down, packed them into the garbage, and turned to take out the garbage when my landlord entered with two young women and a short guy around 19 or 20. One woman was a wavey-haired blond and the other a short-haired brunette.
“Hello?” I said, “Can I help you? What’s going on?”
“We should be asking you that,” the blond woman said, “You’re in our apartment.”
I felt very confused, and must have looked the part, because the tension left the room. I plaintively said, “But I’ve been paying rent on this place for lo these many months.”
I looked to my landlord and he slightly shook his head no.
“Well… I cleaned the place…”
The young man nodded in approval, thankful that he didn’t have to do it.
I looked out the kitchen window and watched the sun set in the southwest, casting long autumn shadows as the twinkles of late summer left the world. Holding a garbage bag of rotting chicken, I said, “I guess it’s true. I don’t live here anymore. You can have your apartment back.”
I walked through the crowd, stepped outside the apartment, crossed the hall to the back entrance, and threw away the garbage for the new tenants of my old apartment. I lingered by the dumpster and watched the sky darken to shades of purple and dark blue as the sun took its warm reds and oranges with her. The landlord was standing at the door, watching sternly. I crossed the side yard to the front sidewalk as I left my apartment forever.
I think what brought on this dream was the fact that I was listening to my favorite band (Oxford Collapse) yesterday on the drive home from visiting my family for Christmas. I listened to them for over an hour, which was something that I hadn’t done in a long time. Their music was an anthem of that time.
My life is drastically different now. My girlfriend just moved in with me last week, I’ve owned a house for about 5 years, I have a functioning automobile and I live and work in the suburbs. I am a manager now, not a part-time cashier or aspiring professional. The Minneapolis of 2007 is long gone and a different city has replaced it. One infested with 5-story condo/apartment developments, bicycle-only roads, and scarce parking.
I think this was an important dream to have. It is an important life moment. The former things have passed away. I am a new person in a new setting, where yesterday’s future has passed and I have something new to look forward to, new things that the old me could scarcely imagine. Even in my current state, I can hardly imagine them now, even though it is the near future, rather than distant future. I feel surprised that my hard work has yielded success and I feel grateful for it.
I guess it’s true. I don’t live there anymore. They can have their apartment back.