I remember when I first saw the porch. It was when we were first looking over our now-apartment with our then-prospective landlords, gingerly climbing up the stairs to the third floor. The stairs circled around to a room in which light pooled on the floor, let in by two giant windows and a door that led...to a porch. A simply lovely porch. Big and covered and under the shade of a giant conifer. High enough to avoid the prying eyes of street passers-by, low enough to watch them without their knowledge.
"Oh!", I exclaimed, "a porch! Do we share it?" (I assumed we did, since the door leading to it was in the hallway, and not in the second floor's apartment.)
"No," prospective landlord replied, "It belongs to the second floor. But you could use the first floor one if you wanted, I suppose."
At the time, this seemed a nonissue. After all, the porch was nice, but the apartment was so pretty with its shiny wood floors, its soaring 11-foot ceilings, and its "architecturally interesting" dormered corners (That's a quote from the Craigslist ad, people! Poetry!) that I was sure it would never bother me.
It bothers me.
It wouldn't be so bad if I ever actually saw any of our second-floor neighbors out on said porch. If I often gave a friendly wave to one of the three chaps and/or one of his significant others on my way up or down the stairs, or if I pulled up in front of the house and looked up to see a gathering of content, beer-drinking people out on the porch. That would ease the pain some.
But the porch sits vacant, you see. The plastic chairs are strewn about carelessly, some of them upside-down. They are arranged in no particular order. And I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have actually seen a human being out there.
If it were my porch, I would have flowers in windowboxes adorning the sides. An herb garden, or maybe strawberries or tomatoes, would flourish in a big pot in the corner. A colorful flag would hang out front. I would drink my coffee out there in the morning, sit and sip margaritas out there at night.
I would love my porch.
But alas, it's not my porch to love.