Please welcome today’s guest writer, Tori Richardson (’20). Tori graduated from Calvin University Online with majors in psychology and French, along with a gender studies minor. She wants to use this “unusual” combination of studies to become an occupational therapist focusing on sexual health as a form of social justice. When not disappointing her family, Tori enjoys watching thunderstorms and trying to keep houseplants alive.
To the Future Residents of Apartment 508,
May you love this home as deeply and as loudly as we did.
Before even moving in, we stopped referring to this place as “my apartment” or even “our apartment,” but the apartment. The first step away from the corner of the Beltline and Burton. Far enough out of the Calvin bubble that we wouldn’t regret our decisions not to transfer, but not so far that we were entering into Laker territory on the West Side. Another step closer to being a real adult, to having to think about laundry cards and parking garages for the first time in either of our lives. Being able to laugh as loudly as we wanted without anticipating a knock on the door from the RA directly across the hall. Realizing some of us should probably go grocery shopping more than once a month, while others of us have a color-coded meal prep spreadsheet.
Last weekend, before the reality of moving had fully smacked me in the face, nostalgia came for a visit. Wondering how many stories had taken place within these walls, I went to one end of our long, shoebox-shaped apartment. One foot in front of the other, I walked in a straight line through each of the rooms. While taking each slow step, memories of the past two years flashed before me like scenes on a movie reel
On my left was a square letterboard, a spur-of-the moment purchase, that held far more value than even the overpriced HomeGoods tag could have predicted. Unlike the influencer boards featuring the type of inspirational quotes that somehow made you feel worse about yourself when you thought about it long enough, ours proudly proclaimed the most provocative thing we could think of at the moment. Over time, this transitioned into quoting the funniest thing that had been spoken in our home in recent memory. That was the peak of comedic praise in our household, saying something so noteworthy that it made someone sprint to the couch to immortalize it on the board.
An open space on the dark hardwood was directly in front of me. It was the perfect setting for lizard time: that full-body stretch on the ground when the rare Michigan sunlight hit the floorboards at the perfect angle.
Tucked into a nook in one corner of the room, there was an oddly painted black and white dining room table with matching mismatched chairs. Formerly a placeholder for papers while we ate dinner sitting on the floor, it had recently transformed into a desk during the unprecedented times that were finishing college from home.
Looking around the space, a constellation of memories appear: the spot on the bedroom carpet where someone began to let themselves feel again, the kitchen counter where two someones got engaged over cooking dinner on the stove, the bed where at least one someone lost their virginity.
I looked up to see the window that allowed skateboard rumbles and laughter from the sidewalk below to seep into the room on a typical day, but also the sound of tear gas canisters and rubber bullets on an atypical night. It was still smudged with a forehead print or two, whether from watching snowflakes illuminated by a streetlamp in the parking lot across the road or from reading Black Lives Matter protest signs hastily scribbled with Sharpie on the backs of pizza boxes.
These won’t be your stories, but they were ours. May you break your own glasses on the floor and set off the fire alarms for your own meals. May you be proud of where you live. May you make it your own. But occasionally, every once in a while, may you think to yourself how deeply someone must have loved it before you.