Los Angeles Part 2

There are things in your life that are nearly unexplainable in their significance.  Generally, these are people, parental figures, heroes, or that special someone who changes your life.  Being the romantic that I am, I have quite a few of these things in my life.  Heck, I wrote an entire book about such things.  Actually, I've written more than one.

My unpublished novel, of which every writer must have at least one, is basically about my apartment at 373 S. Cochran Ave. in Los Angeles.

I moved into that studio apartment on November 10th, 2002.  I would move out on March 28th, 2005.  A lot happened in those two years and five months and, to be perfectly honest, I'm kind of surprised that I didn't live their longer.  It seemed like a big chunk of my life was spent in what was basically one, big room.

I moved up the ladder at my job while I lived in that apartment.  In fact, I worked for the same company before I moved in and still worked for them when I left, which was saying a lot for me at that point in my life.

I wrote a lot.  I wrote a novel.  I wrote "Unrequited."

I found confidence in that apartment; I found self-esteem.  Sanity would come later, but an idea of my worth permeated the walls and surrounded me at night.  I awoke each day knowing who I was.

I dated.  I was never a person who really dated and it's probably a stretch to call it that, but I came as close to dating as someone like me can.  I dated and the act of dating itself was enough for me.

Until I met Nicole.

Funny enough, Nicole loved that apartment, even though I don't know that I ever really cleaned it the entire time I lived there.  It was, in fact, thoroughly cleaned at one point, but that was by this indie film crew that was using it for a movie.  They cleaned the hell out of that place.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would think that one of the things that Nicole loved about that apartment is that it was so completely me.  Walking into that studio was like submerging yourself in Kyle.  And I think that, given that she was introduced to my apartment at the very beginning of our relationship, it was exciting for her.  In a lot of ways, that apartment said more about me than I would ever willingly share.

I can't imagine it was more than, say, 500 square feet.  It was one big room, more or less.  There was a hallway that lead to the bathroom.  That hallway contained the sink, in as the bathroom was just the toilet and the shower.  It was an odd feature to me, but I kind of liked it.  The kitchen was separated by a counter, but was ostensibly a part of the large room.  The far wall consisted of a really large window that basically ran the length of the apartment.  It had vertical blinds and there was an AC unit just below it.  Honestly, that AC unit was plenty for me, as the place wasn't big enough to need anything stronger.

I had one wall painted "Blue Moon."  I had a bookshelf which a girl I dated for a few months bought me for my birthday.  I had a TV that sat on a precarious entertainment stand that has since fallen apart.  Oh, and it was a TV/VCR combo -- I had to be the only person in 2002 to actually buy one of those, but all of my old episode of Buffy and Angel were on VHS.  I had a desk and a computer and a futon that I bought from the #1 Futon Store.  I eventually added a folding table and two chairs.

And that was it.  That was my apartment.  That was my life.  And it was all I needed.

Don't get me wrong, I was as angsty as they came when I lived in that apartment.  My life is far better now than it was back then.  But there's something to be said for how simple that life was.  There's something to be said for having everything right there in front of you.  It was a sanctuary.

It was also something of a prison.

I would have spent the rest of my life in that apartment, I think, or at least far longer than I should have.  I found a certain level of contentment there.  I found security.  It was a place where I could shut myself off, where I could be completely alone and free.  But there was always a ceiling.  There was always a limit to how far I could go, how truly happy I could be, if I stayed in that apartment.  I couldn't keep hiding.

It's not surprising that Nicole was the impetus behind my move, just as she has been the motivating factor in nearly all of the positives decisions I've made since I met her.  By the time I met Nicole, I was making more than enough money to actually afford a bedroom, yet I'd chosen to stay in that studio apartment.  I'd chosen to stay safe.

I moved a good distance away, but by that point I owned a car and could drive to work.  I moved to a completely new neighborhood, one that would bring its own pros and cons.  I made sure that I moved into an apartment that was "Nicole friendly," as I called it.  I wanted her seal of approval on any place I moved into.

It's amazing for me to look back on that time and think about how Nicole helped me come out of my cave and into the light.  She walked me through every step, whether she knew it or not.  And, appropriately enough, the move would be a big step for both of us.

I owe a lot to that studio apartment.  I hope it knows that.

Here are a few songs that were on heavy rotation when I lived in the studio on Cochran Ave.: