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This place is the best place I’ve ever lived—the place I’m moving out of in three weeks. Crap! I fucked this one up, probably. In my decadent unemployment, I keep walking around my apartment, wondering how I could be so stupid as to leave this. I have a balcony, I live on a one-way street that’s out of the way, I live in the nice part of a city, in an artsy neighborhood full of young people and crafty old people. I have three bedrooms, and a big dining room. Seriously, what am I thinking?

If only the rest of the city pleased me so. After four years of constant job hunting, stuck with a crappy job I couldn’t move up in, I’ve practically given up on finding a decent job here. And the partner is going back to school—this is a good opportunity to move to another city. The current one is rather stagnant, and if we stay here then we will be doing the same thing we do every year. Which isn’t bad (smoking weed and hanging with friends, tha’s pretty good!) but it’s not exactly a formula to move me along the path toward… achieving my dreams, or whatever. I’m balancing in my two hands the things that I love and enjoy, and the things that I’ve always wanted for myself and have always striven for. The fact that I’ve never done anything particularly daring (on this level, anyway) helps place more weight in the one hand.

Fuck, I should move away from here! I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else.

God, but this apartment is so nice. I like that I was able to give myself this, even if it was for only a year. The whole street is filled with beautiful houses, and the house next door is owned by this sweet old gay couple who might be my favorite people ever. I think they’re both retired, but the one is some sort of landscaper or horticulturist or something. He’s outside every day, gardening. In a sunhat and jeans. His garden is truly a work of art, the most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen, just filled with flowers, no lawn. There’s a bird fountain and trees, and all the neighborhood cats love it. He also changes the flowers depending on the season, so his garden is in full operation constantly, except for when the snow covers it.

This garden cheers me up every single day. When I had work, I loved parking right next to his garden and walking through the flowers to get to my place (his garden spreads past the sidewalk). I love smelling the flowers infused into the air. I love looking down at it from my balcony. I love hearing the couple’s banter, and with all the people that hang outside their place. They’re just so great!

They have a cat named Ashton who struts around the street, old and gentle and fearless. We have several chairs out on the porch downstairs, and he sleeps on them. I always like to make friends with the neighborhood animals wherever I live, but this is by far the best group of animals. There’s a whole crew of cats, who I either know the name of or have named myself. There’s a black and white cat who looks just like Ashton, she wears a pink color, and I don’t really know her name so I just call her Ashley. (Get it? Ashton? Ashley? I’m good). She’s extremely skittish, so usually I approach her slowly and let her smell me first, but she loves to be pet. She pretty much knows me by now, and doesn’t run away when she sees me. She’ll hover around me, waiting for me to kneel down.

I was just parking my car today, and Ashley was in the parking spots outside my place. I rolled down my window and called out to her from my car in the middle of the street, “Ashley, what are you doing? What’s up? What are you doing there?” And her owner (who I didn’t know was her owner) came by and picked her up. I don’t know whether he thought I was a weirdo or that I wanted to run over his cat or what. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but she perked up when she saw me and I thought I could sweet talk her out of the spot

She has a bit of a bully, except her bully is also my favorite cat on the whole street. Jean Paul! Oh, Jean Paul. I don’t know what his name really is, he has a tag-less collar on and off, but he’s Jean Paul to me. He started off as a little blonde kitten who I spotted several months ago, and now he’s a big tiger cat with a feather duster tail and the cutest light pink nose. He’s so rambunctious, and sometimes he attacks Ashley for fun, once getting a cut on his nose from this. Had to break up the two the other day. Whenever he sees me, he rolls onto his back and rubs his head all over the ground—he loves to have his tummy rubbed. He will hide in the neighbor’s garden and leap out playfully at me when I walk by. I just love this cat, and if I didn’t have two already and this one clearly wasn’t owned, I would’ve snagged this cat a while ago. Every time I see him stalking through the neighborhood I get happy.

Forgetting the cats and their antics and disputes (I spent way longer describing that than is probably healthy for a person to do, regarding the cats outside), there are also two convenience stores down the street, as well as more gardens, a park, bars, restaurants. Everybody on the street hangs out on their balconies and porches, they grill and have people over. It’s all just so lively.

I really hope my next place is at least almost this nice. If the neighbors can be kind, that would be best. Having been evicted in the past, I grow uneasy about the other people living near me. The world has an abundant supply of crazies, and I don’t want the sort of luck that has me moving in above or below them.

Leaving this place is going to be sad, but I can’t dig down yet in my life—I need to keep moving.

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