Part 1: The Legend
1197 Williston Road may very well have been the dirtiest apartment in the history of all teen-infested party houses to occupy the city of Burlington. With its million red cups half filled with beer and discolored with extinguished ciagrette butts, its distinct smell of rotting food and sweating human, and its array of festival mishaps and furniture casualties strewn over every inch of the walls and carpets, no place I'd ever known could compare to its suqalor. Spending more than five minutes in that shithole merrited a shower upon return home, with a stench that lingered in your nose for hours following. Just being within those quarters was a reason to feel a little dirtier about your life; a little lower as a human being and a little more delinquent and misguided than you could possibly feel anywhere else. The chosen passtimes of these occupants of 1197 Williston Road were foul, harsh, and distasteful. The walls had seen more drama, more deceit, more contradiction than that of any home with broken glass littering the floor and boards of wood covering the windows. Behind that door at the top of the stairs was a place that closely resembled the bottom of a congieled and rotting pot in which all of our innocence had been cooked until charred by the forces of drugs, corruption, sin, and our inevitable pubescence.
This is how I always saw 1197. At the time, its unavoidable presence in my life felt negative, and every time I found myself in there, I felt as if the termites were crawling underneath my fingernails while I succombed to its magnetic vibe. I couldn't help but be there because as dirty, disgusting, and dramatic as it was, it was where I knew I could always find my friends; the ones that meant so much to me at the time. No matter the nature of the environment, the company was all I could ask for at the time; I had love, companionship, trust, and happiness, all pure although disheveled. No less than three generations of our friends came and went though that apartment. Rooms belonged to a person or a pair for only so long before another set of elements of our vibrant crew took their place in one of the infamous rooms. The cycle never seemed to end, and although those that left moved to other parts of the city, 1197 was where everything happened, and where everyone ended up when the sun set, or the snow fell, or the shipment came. There were marriage proposals, nasty brawls, ecstasy rolls, coke lines, broken glass, first experiences, and stolen shoes. There were lovers, friends, acquaintances, and enemies, all rolled up into the grime of 1197 until the cloud of cigarette smoke became too thick, the walls became too cracked and plagued with holes, and the furniture became too sunken, at which point everyone seemed to move on, and the legend of 1197 seemed to shrivel up into nothing and end. We found ourselves scattered throughout downtown and outter Burlington, and none of us occupied the space behind the dirty door at the top of the stairs. Even though we all continued to see each other, and we all remained friends, the finale of 1197 left us inevitably separated in a way we couldn't quite piece together.
1197 seemed like dark days at the time it was happening. It seemed depressing, indecent, and polluted, prepossessed with bad memories and nights in which intoxication had lead us into dark holes of blackened suffering. 1197 seemed at the time like a decision we'd all made to spend our lives in hell on the condition we were with our friends. But when it all ended, and time passed by without its grime constantly beckoning from the parking lot as the windows sent the screams from inside pouring out onto the street. I personally didn't spend too much time thinking about the days I spent at that infamously dirty apartment building on Williston Road, and I acknowledged it as a time from my past when I hadn't exactly thought myself the most admirable person or the most in control of my life. Regardless, the fact that 1197 was over and every one of us was now cleansed of its possessed dust sent chills down my spine when I thought of returning there. The idea that anything would ever connect a perfectly unique group of friends and enemies the way 1197's decay and debauchery did was impossible. After two or three years, it was obvious that we had all moved on, and put the legend to rest.