The building 827 meant a lot to me. I consider it the source of my firsts. This was the place where I really learned to cry, laugh, and smile. I couldn't imagine replacing it with anything else and I think many people would agree with me. See, for all of us, there was something sentimental about this place, whether it be the 2-seater benches in front of the building or the next door coffee shop. It wasn't just 827 but the all the things around it. So, as I sat on the lonely bench, I couldn't help but think of my own memories. For the first time in years, there wasn't any reason to come back regularly, yet here I was, waiting for her, while staring at the cold hard bricks encasing the building I held so dearly to my heart. Maybe it would've been easier just trudging along the streets with my backpack. What made me stop in front of 827? I wasn't quite sure.
When it used to snow, 827 was the place to be. We would have impromptu snowball fights that would lead into a snuggle-fest, hot chocolate, movie night afterwards. It was easy for us to go floor to floor to each other's rooms. That's what made it so informal and so easy to love people. Many times it felt as if the building simply belonged to us.
The rustic smell didn't bother anyone, except maybe the newcomers, but even they became accustomed to the scent after a visit or two. And it wouldn't take long for them to come more than once. Everything that happened, happened here. The fights. The break ups. The unexpected couple suddenly holding hands. I think we could have made a sitcom out of 827.
I remember sleeping over during my first year. This, I figured at the time, was what I wanted: a community knit together in a inseparable bond of divinely-given love. It was so palpable, despite the rock-hard couch I slept on, that these were the people who cared and 827 was the place to find them. It didn't matter where I slept. In the end, it was more of a matter of if I slept there at all.
But that wasn't always the case. I couldn't count how many times people would come to 827 looking for a place to fall apart. As much as it was the go-to place for love, it was just as much a melancholic bubble. People came here to "give up on life" because there were so many others who were living life. 827, as Matt would say, had the cure for everything, from Tylenol for finals week headaches to friends for just about everything else.
It was sad when we found out nobody was going to be in 827 this year. We weren't sure where we went wrong. Everyone had always wanted to live in 827, except now. Without the building, things almost seemed certain to crumble. This was the ultimate break-up: a goodbye to the one thing still keeping everyone together.
I guess I realized after a few weeks that it wasn't really because people no longer liked 827. I think people simply didn't want to recreate a past that couldn't be mimicked. For many of us, 827 became a piece of us, as our home and life. But each year spent here managed to be unique. The snowball fights didn't happen every year because it didn't always snow. Sometimes movie nights were cancelled because the internet went out. In a way, it was time for us to move on, to realize that life isn't bound to a single building.
As she finally came out of 827, I managed to conjure up a smirk on my face. This was it, a final farewell to the building I loved so much.
"Ready to go?" she said.
"Yeah" I replied. "Let's get out of here."
I held her hand as we walked down the block to our new homes. 827 might be gone but I'm glad I still have a piece of it in her.