Where have you lived, Sam Blackwell?
8th Street, Minneapolis, Minn., $450/mo. (my share)
My first non-dorm apartment that I shared with my closest friend, this was probably the most non-descript two-bedroom apartment of them all. We decorated with pictures of men ripped from GQs and Details. I used to ride my bike home at midnight after getting off of work and feel so young and so adult and so connected to the world, exhilarated with life and totally content. And in the winter, when I was out smoking on the balcony in air so cold it could shatter, I could see the crisp bright skyline of the city.
13th Street SE, Minneapolis, Minn., $488/mo. (my share)
We added another roommate and moved to this three-bedroom duplex in the student-housing-iest part of the city. This new roommate was very interested in interior design, so the house became a curious combination of antique writing tables with vases filled with pussy willow and fuzzy velvet coloring posters of unicorns that I had diligently filled in. My roommates and I did homework together in the kitchen sometimes and we infrequently had dance parties which always got out of hand. I had a couple of boyfriends at the end of our two-year stay there and began to spend significantly less time at the house, so I have less of a happy nostalgic connection to it than my former roommates do, which sometimes makes me sad.
In what was possibly the most selfish thing I have ever done, I moved into my then-boyfriend’s studio and abandoned my roommates to a progressively more unstable subletter whose on-again-off-again trick may or may not have stolen an iPod and definitely did wake one roommate up while casing her room for stealable goods.
LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis, Minn., $0/mo. plus storage unit, $75/mo.
Deciding to move in together in an apartment with no doors this early on in our blossoming relationship was possibly a mistake, but when we weren’t drunkenly fighting, we would hold hands walking to Twins games and eat at this terrible bar that had the best happy hour. I developed my hatred for squirrels after breaking a window trying to scare one away from its perch on the bathroom windowsill, watching me shower. My boyfriend was training for the marathon at the time and would come home from a long run and lay on the bed with the lights off and his feet in the air, smelling almost metallic.
15th Street, Minneapolis, Minn., $425/mo. (my share)
This pre-war row house was beautiful but largely non-functional, although there was a skylight immediately above the apartment door that made me feel very much like Newland Archer. We repurposed an closet into an entertainment center that, if Pinterest had been a thing back then and we had been the type of people to upload things to Pinterest, would have gotten a bajillion pins. At the time it felt like a very adult apartment, but in retrospect, there was at best half a kitchen.
My parents came up one weekend and we all—me, them, my boyfriend—had dinner and one too many drinks at my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant before walking across Loring Park to grab decaf coffee. I had never been as proud of the life I had made for myself in this city—it gave me goosebumps. My boyfriend and I broke up a month later after getting into a screaming match about the Voter I.D. amendment at the local bar.
Aldrich Ave S, Minneapolis, Minn., $495/mo. (my share)
After breaking up, my ex-boyfriend and I moved out of our old apartment and into a different two-bedroom apartment, together (Mature? Crazy? You decide!) The kitchen is spectacular. It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer and there’s a special room for the cat’s litter box. Besides the fact that the toilet weirdly abuts the bathtub and requires me to sit kind of sideways when using it, it’s a perfect apartment. I’m single and subsisting off of food stamps and a lousy AmeriCorps stipend, and my love affair with Minneapolis has slowly dissolved. Now rather than relish in the prospect of a cross-city bike ride to meet a friend for happy hour, I groan, knowing there’ll be traffic on Nicollet.