If Home is Where the Heart is…

balcony

“The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.” – Desmond Morris

Some people thrive in an apartment. To tell the truth, when I first moved to the city I thought I would too. Small space means there is less to clean, someone else is responsible for fixing things that break, and no yard to mow in the hot sun. It seemed like a dream come true.And maybe at first it was.

Five years later however, and I feel trapped.

The small space also means there is no room to do anything. I barely have room for my loveseat in the living room, my dining room holds a tiny cafe table and two chairs, and in my kitchen you can barely run around. I miss space, I miss having the room to do things, I miss my huge oak table that seated six and a living room full of fluffy chairs, I miss having counter space to plug in both the toaster and my crockpot at the same time. And dammit, I miss mowing the yard.

I have tried for the last three years to grow a small garden on my balcony, and each year it has failed. Not only that it is too small, but it was built as a cement box that traps heat and refuses to let go. Texas summers get hot and my little piece of outside turns into an oven. Even plants I was assured were heat hearty have baked away into nothing. My poor pineapple is a bundle of dry, cracked leaves despite how much I water it.

I should be grateful. I have a nice home, there are bus routes nearby, a lovely park within walking distance, and even though the rent goes up each year it is still outside the ridiculous price bubble of the heart of the city. And sometimes the maintenance people actually show up. I’ve seen worse, I know people that live in much worse. There are fates far more damning than a tiny apartment and an unusable balcony.

But I am still gnawing at the walls like a rat. I grew up with space to run, space to grow, space to explore. Living in a cramped city, space is now a luxury that I can’t afford.

I wonder if this is living at all.

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