catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 7, Num 15 :: 2008.07.25 — 2008.09.12


Second impressions

My steps are slow but anxious; I eye the man ahead of me with impatience. He pauses on the landing and extends his arm, placing the key in the lock with care. A twist, a turn, and the door swings open. The metal blinds covering the window clink against the door once, then again.

My first sight is bright red and green carpet, swirled together in an 80s floral design. It must have been new when they put it in, but since then, it has not been touched. My eyes travel up the room to the wallpaper—again, a floral pattern, but this one is a light pink and green. The light on the wall catches my attention: what looks like packing tape covers a tear in both the wallpaper and the wall. Then, I notice that the carpet changes—the red and green only lasts for the stairs into the apartment, meeting orange.

All this before my feet have crossed the threshold.

First impressions aren’t everything; that must be true, because I now find myself comfortably settled in to this very apartment. Barely two months ago, my husband and I left our beautiful, contemporary, “loft-style, artsy apartment” on the hill for one that, while roomier and more affordable, lacks any attractiveness to my home-making eye. Adding to the eclectic aura are the wood paneling on the walls; the high-pile blue carpet in the bathroom; the pink, blue, and gray tile work around the vanity; and yet more floral wallpaper.

Since our move, wallpaper has come down and paint has gone up, the mushroom-growing carpet in the bathroom is about to be replaced with tile, and the floors have been rigorously scrubbed. And yet, I continue to be surprised when dear friends come in for the first time, their eyes wide not in shock (as I expect) but in pleasure.

I’m slowly beginning to see what they see, and at the moment I wouldn’t trade our little place, three doors down from the neighborhood drug-dealer, for anything. The space, put simply, is welcoming. The bigger kitchen has room for our table now, and I can comfortably chat while cooking dinner. The living room, previously detached from the kitchen, is now adjacent to it. Three tall windows grace the curved outer wall, creating a sense of enfolding.

Yes, the light pink and green wallpaper is still hanging. And no, we haven’t ripped up the shag carpet yet. For the time being, however, I’m content to rest in the present, confident that negative first impressions can be overcome—because now we have friends in our home, and their laughter hides these imperfections.

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