Twelve years ago this month, I was moving my worldly posessions into the all girls’ dorm at Queens College, sharing space with a boy-crazy roommate. Trading one Queen City for another, my parents and brother drove me from Cincinnati, OH to Charlotte, NC after receiving a brochure in the mail my junior year to attend a private liberal arts college in North Carolina’s most populous city. After being swept up by the canopy of magnificent Oak trees and Carolina blue skies and ready smiles, I knew I was home.
A person can grow more in 4 years at college than in the 17-18 living at home. Queens College, now Queens University, was witness to such growth. It was here that I made some life-long friends. 1900 Selwyn Avenue served as homebase for my international travels as an International Studies major and French minor. I visited Guatemala, France and Italy all in one semester. I had my first beer at a dance club in Guatemala, sipped champagne in a cathedral in Nice, and sampled wine made by the gods in Florence.
Ever the late bloomer, I had my first kiss where typical amorous rites of passage take place, the school playground. Mine just so happened to be on the playground of the neighboring elementary school, Selwyn Elementary. I was 23.
I ran around my first apartment, #3 of 1142 Queens Road, calling all of my friends to announce that I had finally been kissed. Most of these calls were to friends who were married and starting families. They did their best trying to relate and call to mind what it was like a decade ago when they had their first kiss.
I paid $275 a month to share apartment #3 with another Queens grad. It was close enough for me to bike to my first post-college job at the childrens’ library where I made more life-long friends. The stackable W/D was in my bedroom closet and I had to sleep with earplugs because the walls were so thin I heard whispers from the apartment to the right.
The apartment to the left was exactly ten feet from mine. I wore out that path of concrete, caught up in a one-sided relationship with the teacher who lived there, Teacher Neighbor. Here at apartment #2, you will find my virginity and my first heartbreak. First dart, the deepest. I was 24.
A month after moving out, wishing to hell my lease and the teacher neighbor, I got drunk on $5 Yuengling pitchers at the Penguin and asked to make out with my co-worker’s roommate in the parking lot. Despite having nothing in common, we dated for nearly 6 months. He had to dump me when he got his new 20 year old girlfriend pregnant. Second heartbreak, second dart.
Oakland Avenue was site of my last apartment before homeownership in 2009. What it lacked in central A/C, a dishwasher, and on-site laundry facilities, it made up for in free cable & HBO, and one remarkable neighbor. I lived next door to my best friend Natalie and we stood on our respective balconies with phones in hand when cans and string simply wouldn’t hold the weight of our gossip.
I met a guy on a blind date at Dish. It was set up by a friend of a friend. He was a frequent guest at Oakland Ave (along with the cockroaches and mice). We dated for ten months when he confessed that he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore. No “I love you”s were whispered at this address. Third heartbreak, third dart.
The crosswalk that ushers pedestrians from the back door of the Belk Theatre to Blue is where I met the bass player in June 201o. He was leaving soon to hop on Harry’s tour bus. In the meantime, we swapped spit and phone numbers on top of the Holiday Inn’s pooltop roof. Since the fall of 2011, I’ve visited him four times in New York City until my credit card would no longer fund such frivolity. Fourth dart, painless.
They say home is where the heart is. Despite my dartboard heart, Charlotte has it and I’m looking forward to her revealing to me the man of my dreams, with putty in tow, in the next twelve years.