1. Bitter and sweet at the same time
2. Producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure
It’s strange how you can put a number on pretty much everything after all.
Layers we’ve worn, objects we’ve touched, things we figured we’d need one day but never did.
It took me six days to pack them all, physical traces we’ve left since we moved to this country, and once I was done and our living room became a a scale model of a cardboard sky-scraper-ed city I barely managed to Gulliver my way through from one surface to the next, well, I squeezed into an armchair and looked at it. A mountain of things wrapped to survive an Armageddon. I wished we could just drop them by the curb after midnight, and set on our way attachment free, hands in pockets and all. We’d keep our pockets, I decided. They’d come in handy when we started collecting new things.
We moved everything into storage instead. A few nights in a row, back and forth to a box infested, yellow painted hangar. We did it after dark, what with our so called lives keeping us busy until late, and it felt like an adventure of sorts, finding our way along the yellow, deserted corridors, burdened by boxes and armed with nothing but flashlights and the key to our lock.
And then last night we drove back to an empty apartment. No cardboard metropolis, no trace of life, and it suddenly felt like something was ending.
Sometimes I’m truly terrified of how you can’t really un-erase anything.
I find comfort in mistakes crossed out with a million crooked lines. I don’t care if it messes up the page, or that people will figure out I’m not perfect. I want to see them there. To draw arrows from them and scribble bright coloured explanations between the lines. Erasers scare me.
As I was scrubbing down our soon to be other people’s flat yesterday, I felt like I was erasing a part of our life.
There’s a whiter patch on the kitchen wall, where our Pairing Wine With Food print used to hang. A confetti sized red nail polish spot on the floor by my side of the bed, the aftermath of a manicure tragedy. Forgotten fingerprints on surfaces I was too tired to reach last night. But most of what “us, here” used to mean is gone.
I took the morning off today to meet the cleaners, leave the keys and say goodbye.
I shut the door and started down the poorly lit corridor. I smelled coffee. People rushing up and down their rooms looking for misplaced car keys. I remembered how I’d loved that door, the first red door I’d ever had my own key for. Poppy red, and how the colour always made me smile. There must be nice people living behind that door, I imagined our neighbors thinking as they passed it by. They must have wonderful lives.
I grabbed a latte and toast at a coffee place on the street corner. People were queuing for takeaway, their caffeine orders ready to jump off the tips of their tongues. I sat by the window and warmed my hands on the flimsy paper cup. The street was an explosion of colour and movement, and I couldn’t help thinking how I’d been so miserable these past couple of weeks, dragging my feet up and down this very street. Like a ridiculous, hopeless moron.
I have a wonderful life.