My Husband and I met on the internet as many an internet-people do. We went on two dates before I began spending long weekends at his tiny apartment. We were meant to be, you might say. However, the state of that tiny apartment when we met wasn’t saying that. Let me describe it to you.
He slept on what we affectionately came to call the “crack mattress.” I wasn’t particularly well-off for at least half of my childhood, or at least I thought, but I was clearly doing just fine as I’d never known anyone to not have a box spring and a frame under their mattress. Husband had neither. Nor did he have proper sheets. But he did have a down comforter that he never washed until I came along (and subsequently ruined long before I finally convinced him to throw the smelly thing out–who knew you couldn’t launder goose feathers? Also, who, in the modern day, requires an animal be murdered and plucked clean in order to sleep?)
All his shit was strewn around his bedroom. Even the drawers that should have contained the shit that was strewn around were strewn around. He had one real piece of furniture–a scuffed up chest of five drawers–and not a single drawer was in place. It stood, hollowly looking out over its own innards as they recklessly lay about 80% of the bedroom making it basically impossible to cross the room from the crack mattress at its entrance to the closet at its back. But honestly, I found it reassuring that one could not easily cross from bed to closet as that was its own nightmare.
To be fair, the closet wasn’t Husband’s fault. At least, not the architecture. That closet would have existed in its utterly terrifying state regardless of who inhabited the apartment. He certainly didn’t make it better, but it was hard to make it worse (he persevered). Typically we think of closets as shallow rectangles or boxes. This was, instead, a long rectangle that ran insidiously down along the wall with an entryway (the door had long been removed) at one end and a single lightbulb hanging just inside. So you’d step into a small, acceptable, almost normal space, but then if you glanced to the right, the horror of the void would stare back at you. For some reason, the closet was a very narrow, very dark hallway to nowhere. Except maybe Hell.
Husband kept garbage bags full of clothing, mostly and inexplicably Hawaiian shirts, back there. The bags were tied off. I don’t know if they were clean or dirty when they went in. There were all washed when they finally came out.
Additional furniture came in the form of a massive, leather beanbag, an entertainment center that he referred to as a “family heirloom” because his family severely misuses the word, and that is literally all I can remember. The apartment itself wouldn’t have held much more than that anyway. We would acquire a futon months later after the beanbag was unceremoniously used as a litter box.
He knew how to cook one thing, and not well, and had a special appliance (his only appliance save for a microwave that hummed at exactly an F#) just for making it. I was very afraid of eating raw bacon when he eagerly made me a bacon and egg sandwich in this appliance, his coveted sandwich maker, but I did–FOR LOVE. I didn’t do it without complaint, though, and he sites this experience as why he cannot possibly learn to cook now as I permanently ruined his fragile ego.
His bathroom had been cleaned exactly one time, in the interim between the previous apartment’s tenant and himself. It’s important to note that the fixtures were ancient and at one point in our relationship while [redacted] in the shower together, he leaned against the back wall and four of the tiles just crumbled in on one another. The landlord’s fix for this was exactly as you’d imagine.
The apartment itself was next door to the complex’s laundry unit which was kind of convenient if not particularly quiet. It was also a “garden” apartment which is just a fancy way of saying “mostly basement” which meant the only windows were at almost-ceiling height. One evening during a rainstorm when we were watching a pirated movie on Husband’s laptop, our two cats started meowing intensely in the bedroom, we went the two steps into the room to find water somehow gushing in from around the closed window all over the carpeted bedroom and our belongings. By the time it stopped, the carpet was a mushy mess and everything we could salvage was stacked up in the living room/kitchen space.
But this is the place I decided to move into to be with Husband. We lived there for about six months before moving to an only slightly less shitty and slightly more expensive apartment. That place had bedbugs. Still slightly less shitty.