Empty Houses

I had to go into work tonight, even in the January cold that may be leading to dangerous weather later tonight.  Made it to work, laughing at the stories told by the two British boys that run  “The Bugle: Audio Newspaper For A Visual World”.  In a lull, I realized I was driving down University Avenue, and took a look around.  Memories were starting to leak in to the scenery and almost pulled me away from the fact that I was driving.  I pulled back to reality pretty quickly, not really missing anything, but still, it set the seed for what I’ve been thinking about all night, even while I’ve been trying to game all night.  I really, honestly, and truly, miss my friends.
Now, that isn’t to say I’m friendless here, not in the slightest.  I’ve still got friends here, but only with one or two of them was I honestly close with before now.  The friends I miss are those that I lived with for two years of my life.  Yes, there were moments where they all drove me insane (and a couple where I drove myself insane a bit as well), but over all, I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of people to be around every day.  What on university made me think of them and those times?
First off, I passed by the street I lived on last year.  That house was absolutely massive.  We had one less room to work with than we originally planned (we claimed the house had changed it’s interior composition and layout (this was about eight or so months before I finally read about and then read Mark Danielwiski’s House of Leaves).  It was kinda tense at times, but it was still a great place to stay.  There were a ton of great memories there:

The first night, after those of us from the first house got all our things moved in, we all pulled out the long table and sat down to a feast in the dark.  A pizza, delivered, with the four of us who were there that night.  all of us joking, laughing, and enjoying ourselves and our time with each other.  We didn’t have any lighting for the living room itself at that point outside of the light from the entrance of the house, so it was all done in just kinda a shadowy room.  It was so much fun.
I ran my first ever movie marathon just before Halloween last year.  I’d not done anything like that before, but I had always wanted to.  I invited a few of my closest friends over, picked up a projector from campus, and watched five of my favorite Halloween/horror films.  It was when I finally got to share a movie that I was so excited about.  The first horror film that I had actually been excited about in years.  Trick ‘r Treat was a total blast with more people (even though some had left by that point).  That night was also the first time I watched the Twilight Rifftrax.  I didn’t laugh that hard again until I saw the Titanic riff months later.
I wore my first Halloween costume that year too.  Jake Blues was the name.  I had the bottle of Coke with me for the night, but I didn’t get the whole fried chicken (still regret that decision to this day).  Didn’t have a Elwood either.  But with that costume, I had more fun than I’d ever had on a Halloween previous.  I was actually at a party and I was actually interacting and having fun with people.  I never thought I’d be one to do that, but I was.
Cooking in the kitchen was an absolute blast.  I had space and a little rolling table, so I’d bring in my laptop and jam out as I cooked, having the best of times.  I tried cooking some new things I hadn’t done before, and I spent more time cooking than I ever had before.  I cooked for a few people in the house from time to time, too.  That’s one of the things I miss most of all.
My friends all got together the night that Starcraft II released to the public to go out and get copies at midnight.  I’d not done a midnight release for a game before, so I didn’t know what to expect.  It ended up being a lot of standing in a line, just waiting to get the game at the front counter and pay for it, but everyone was there for the exact same thing, and everyone was chatting and having fun.  It was one of those great moments that those that aren’t gamers don’t understand.  Everyone stayed up that night and downloaded the game as well as started playing.  I think Chris had the campaign finished within 24 hours, I think.  That may just be my terrible memory though.
The last thing I remember before the move out is getting to sit down with my friend that I’m now dating to watch a few movies.  She watched Ghostbusters for the first time in there, and jumped a little bit from time to time.  I teased her about it quite a bit , but I was really enjoying sharing movies with someone else.  I promised her I’d show her Back To The Future the next week.  We never got the chance to watch, schedules went insane at that point.  I still owe her that movie.  I’ll try and run it by her at some point.

When those memories had passed, I came to a street a few blocks past that goes the opposite direction.  That was the way I always went to go to Drew’s for nights of insanity.  So many awesome times there.  It’s where I first met Anna.  It’s where I played Munchkin for the first time.  I saw Donnie Darko and Superbad there.  I played my first ever minatures game.  I went to my first Christmas party there.  I sat around and hung out for the first time in college in that house.  Alex tried his fire poi there first and we had a blast with that.  It’s the first place I ever played poker (no money went down in that game).  I finally got over myself a bit there and joined in the fun.  It was an absolute blast and I really miss it.  The McKinley house had its share of insane moments, but it was nothing like the cramped space of Drew’s first floor apartment.  That was the first year I started changing from being the stick in the mud that I’d always been and loosened up a bit (though it would take quite a lot more time to be able to get over it to the point that I joined in a more inclusive fashion.  There was nothing else like it, and I’m glad I was there.
Both places are different now.  Drew went off and went off and did his own thing, the apartment getting rented out to new people.  We left the house at the end of the summer, with little fan fare and a lot of us scattering out and either barely seeing each other anymore or not seeing each other at all.  It’s sad to think those days are over.  I really honestly miss them, and I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

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