I realized recently that Google Maps photographed my old neighborhood during the summer of the last year that I lived there. Over the past few days I've found myself "walking" through the oh so familiar streets, drowning in nostalgia.
There's the morning glory installation, which I erected with friends and neighbors and which toppled yearly. There is the yellow metal cabinet, that I spray painted on the lawn after hauling it up the hill (the biggest hill in town! Not true, but very much its reputation, at least on my porch). There's my garden, full of nasturtiums and kale and tomatoes and irises. And the sunken part of the yard where the june bugs hatched, predictably, every June. Those were my living room windows, on the left there, apartment 3 of 5 (!).
In three years that little house saw so much of my life. Friends moved in and out. I had a cat, this was the only house he lived in, from kittenhood until he disappeared two years later. My already sour relationship fully curdled in this house. I lived alone for the first time. I went back to school.
That last year was the best year. When I lived alone, me and my broken heart, and Wendel the cat before he left for better things or to be a coyote snack. My lover lived a few blocks over, there's her house in the middle, there's her orange scooter and her lawn flamingos and the porch where we sat and fell in love while she worked on mix tapes and made me laugh until I cried. Up the hill a little and over was our lover-turned-friend-turned-lover-turned-friend, and if we weren't on either of our porches, we were on hers. There are her little potted plants, and the ice cream truck that lived next door.
You can't see the sunken toilet, or the mold, the creepy neighbor (or the self righteous one, who sprayed my medicinal herb patch for poison ivy and didn't tell me until I'd been drinking toxic tea for weeks). You can't see the heartbreak, the fights, the leaving. In the Google Maps rendition of the neighborhood, it is a gorgeous day, devoid of people but full of familiarity. I like it that way- a sunshiny memory. There is enough sadness in the world already, what's the harm in pretending that the sun always shines on Spring Street.