The sun is just starting to appear over the Gray’s Block building, like a little wave hello from Mother Nature. I walk into the kitchen as brightness shines through the old ivy-covered windows, splattering rays across my freckled face.
The room feels warm for a morning in March. I’m not exactly sure how to use the old thermostat in my apartment since I’ve only lived here for a week. I push the tiny brown buttons until I hear the air kick on.
I notice screams coming from West 9th Street. A girl is skipping and yelling “top o’ the mornin’ to ya” in a bad Irish accent. She has on a shamrock headband and tall white and green tube socks.
My friends will be here soon. I’m sure they will be wearing similar St. Patrick’s Day garb; green top hats, plastic shamrock necklaces, and tank tops with “Kiss Me I’m Irish” bedazzled across the front.
I start to load the glass table with food. I place everything bagels in a woven basket, scoop globs of cream cheese in tiny glass custard cups, and stack turkey and cheese pinwheel sandwiches on a white ceramic platter. I arrange a rainbow of sliced strawberries, blueberries, and oranges on a wooden cutting board.
A pot of Phoenix coffee is brewing. I grab a mug and add a generous amount of Baileys into the dark puddle of warm chocolate, nutty-flavored liquid.
“Knock, knock!” screams Jenny, as she lets herself into the open apartment.
“This place is insane! I can’t believe you found this apartment!” Jenny says as she slides into the boxy navy blue velvet chair.
“Thanks for coming!” I shout as I finish taping green streamers on the white brick wall.
All of my friends start filing through the door. They bring in bottles of Jameson, cases of White Claw, and coolers filled with green Jell-O shots.
My apartment is packed. There are probably forty people here. I don’t know many of them. I know my friend Jenny and can recognize some of her friends, but most of the room looks like a pool of strangers dressed in green and white t-shirts with sparkly shamrock tattoos on their cheeks.
A guy carrying a huge black speaker over his shoulder walks in.
“Hey, I live a floor above you and thought I’d stop by. Is it cool if I plug in my speaker?” he says.
“Sure,” I say as I take a sip of my Irish coffee.
He plugs in his speaker and “The Middle” by Zedd instantly starts playing. The entire apartment is singing and jumping up and down like we’re in the center of a mosh pit at a music festival.
As we start to stumble out of the apartment to hit the bars and see the aftermath of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, I take a step back and pause. I look at the mess of people in my Warehouse apartment.
I can’t believe I live here. This is my first apartment without a roommate. This is my home. I feel part of a community. I feel like a Clevelander.
Erin Radigan is a marketing professional living in Cleveland, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, writing and practicing yoga.
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