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In Vivian J's narrative “Apartment 302,” she drew real life experiences from her time living in Tracy Drive. She felt like her piece will leave her readers with a smile on their faces and the motivation to explore in their hearts.
Tracy Drive was a s*** hole. That’s the shortest way for me to describe it. It also had a literal s*** hole, more like a s*** creek, running down the middle of the complex. In reality, Tracy Drive was actually just a poor and rundown apartment complex filled with poor and rundown families. I lived here for two and half years and I was lucky enough to meet my best friend there. She only lived a few apartments below me and for fun, we would run around the complex, pick fights, hide from our crazy landlord, explore the sewers connecting to the creek, and break into houses. Yep, you read that correctly, we would break into houses, for fun.
It was an average day, Olivia and I were walking up to my apartment on the top floor when we passed by the apartment next door, number 302. Olivia stopped and looked at the door.
“Have you ever seen anyone come out of there?” she asked.
“Uh,” I paused for a second, “I don’t think so?”
“Do you think anyone lives there?” she asked looking back at me.
“Probably not,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.
Olivia looked back at the door and her green eyes began to glint with curiosity. I could hear the question forming on her lips before she even asked.
“Wanna try and get in?”
Now, it’s not like we were trying to steal anything, and it’s not like we were going to break a window or a door handle. At most, we would try to amateurly bobby pin the lock. We walked up to the door and without hesitation I reached for the handle. I looked to Olivia for confirmation; she just nodded. I sucked in a breath and turned the knob.
The door was unlocked.
We looked at each other, matching grins glued on our faces, and I opened the door. Our jaws dropped. The entry way had three black marble steps into the livingroom. The rest of the floors were marble white tiling. There was a small closet to the left of the front door and it had a wooden sliding door. The walls were accented burgundy and a fireplace stood in the center of the far wall.
Remeber when I said Tracy Drive was a s*** hole? Well, I guess apartment 302 was the pearl in the oyster.
We walked further into this miniature mansion and closed the door behind us.
“What the hell?” Olivia asked in disbelief.
“Wha-how? What?” I muttered.
To the right of the living room was a hallway with a bedroom on the left. It had dark blue walls with cheesy peel off lettering that read: Dream until your dreams come true. Some of the words were peeling and cracked.
Across the hall was a private laundry room.
“Okay! This is not fair!” I exclaimed.
Let me explain something, in Tracy Drive, and most likely other apartment complexes, the buildings share laundry machines and people have to pay like, a dollar in quarters each load. Tracy Drive had some scary ass laundry rooms. On multiple occasions, I had found dead animals and c***roaches in the corner of the fifteen foot by fifteen foot dark, musty and half lit basement. However, this apartment had its own washer and dryer.
We traveled deeper into this realm of bullshit, not knowing what to expect. The hallway opened up into a modern kitchen with black counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and a chandelier. A counter top island stood slightly out of the way to leave room for a dining room table and a bathroom branched off to the right. There was a balcony leading off the kitchen, which wasn’t uncommon, all apartment above the first floor had a balcony.
Our eyes analyzed the room in astonishment until they landed on something in the middle of the floor. Our eyebrows notched and for a moment we questioned whether what we were seeing was real.
A two foot long stuffed toy chameleon was laying on its side in the middle of the kitchen.
We shook our heads and moved on. By this point, we were thinking something along the lines of “What else did we expect?”
French doors led into another bedroom. Well, if we thought the marble floors, fireplace, private laundry room, fancy kitchen, and chameleon wasn’t crazy enough, we were met with the sight of a freaking jacuzzi.
A real life jacuzzi.
And to the eyes of two 9 year old kids, this was like discovering a briefcase filled with a million dollars in your backyard. Our brains shattered. Was this place even real? Who lived here? Why did they leave a dope looking chameleon toy behind? These were the questions spiraling through our broken minds.
Suddenly, we heard voices from the building’s hallway and our train of thought hit the breaks. Our eyes went wide and we wiped our heads around.
We had to hide before we were discovered. It was probably Karen, our evil landlord, or maybe a maintenance man. No wonder the door was unlocked, someone must have been working on it and stepped out for a bit. And now they were coming back. Our eyes swept the room for a hiding place. We couldn’t just hide somewhere, could we? They might discover us right away or we’d hide out for so long there’s not a chance they wouldn’t find us eventually. Maybe we could make a bolt for the door and hope they don’t see us leave into my apartment. No, that would be too large of a risk. What if we ran out the back porch? That wouldn’t work; where would we go from there? It would put us out in the open where anyone could see us.
The voices were getting stronger as they ascended the staircase. Finally, on what seemed like instinct, we ran into the living but instead of going out the front we bolted into the nearby closet. Olivia started closing the door lightly and sound seemed to be more intensified. The creaking of the door closing sounded like wood splitting. The ragged breath puffing out of our throats sounded like we had run a marathon. Our hearts almost seemed to be trying to pound their way out of our chests. We’re gonna be heard! We’re gonna be heard! Echoed in my head. We tried to cover our mouths but the air coming out of noses only sounded louder.
The voices were basically right outside the front door and my ears were straining to pick up what they were saying. Then is snapped. The people outside the door were my brother and his two friends from a couple floors down.
Olivia and I were scared s***less by my 7-year-old brother and his friends.
Olivia also realized this and we let out a sigh of relief. As soon as we heard my brother and his friends go into my house we ran out of apartment 302. We ran down the stairs, skipping two, three, four steps at a time just so we could reach the bottom faster. By the time we were out of the building, the bottom of our feet felt stunned and our lungs were fighting for air. We decided then and there never to sneak into another abandoned house again. We might have hated Tracy Drive, our crappy apartments, and our scary landlord but we didn’t want to get kicked out for trespassing. So we tried to once again to fight the boredom. We played in the streets and ran around the sewer creek like always but no matter what we tried we couldn’t reach that same sense of excitement that we had in 302. That is, until two weeks later when the door to the apartment right below mine was wide opened. A door to more mystery, wonder, and adventure was open, and how could we resist that?