The balcony

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I’ve spent 6 years sitting on the balcony of this apartment watching the sunset in May. I’ve spent 6 summers in this apartment.

We didn’t intend to stay so long. It was meant to be a jumping off point, a place to rest while we searched for our forever home, here in the Pacific Northwest. But then we loved living here. And then the housing market changed. And then life happened. And then we got comfortable.

I’ve spent 6 years watching the city grow up from that balcony. I’ve watched a patch of grass become a mound of dirt that became the city park. I’ve watched apartment buildings go up all around us. I’ve watched our favorite coffee shop go and new ones pop up, and I’ve watched as they tore the trail apart to add the new train.

I sat, enjoying the cool night air, while patrons of the Pokemon game wandered around the restaurant below. I witnessed snow pile up on the railing and concrete and cover my plants in a cocoon I hoped would only make them stronger. I’ve nursed lavender on that balcony. Lavender and roses and hellebores and heather. And I’ve had only the roses, and to my surprise, one lemon tree survive.

I sat on that balcony and watched the city go quiet as stay-at-home orders and work from home suggestions kept people at home, and I watched as the city came alive again. and then I sat on that balcony and watched as fellow Americans exercised their right to protest.

I sat on that balcony and cried after fights with Ben and tantrums from my daughter. I breathed in the air, baby monitor in hand, every single time I needed a place to wait out a nap refusal or anti-bedtime crying spell.

That balcony has been a haven for 6 years. 6 summers, 6 winters, 6 springs, 6 autumns. That balcony has been my shelter, a place to watch the sky turn pink and purple, a place to listen to the low rumble of a quiet city go about its business. It’s been home.

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