I am lying on my belly, camping out in our new lounge. We got the keys to the flat but because we’ve been very laissez-faire about the whole thing our removal man is not booked for a while, so til then we’re squatting like anarchist hippies. Except we have electricity and loo roll and an overwhelming mortgage shackling us to the bureaucratic strata of society.
Matt’s gone to work and I am writing this in an old vest and peeling blue nail varnish. I feel tatty but strangely new – and pretty darn edgy without any furniture to make me feel twee and domesticated. I might look to a passing eye like I could be typing out the new communist manifesto to distribute in the streets while a dreadlocked man called Bosh makes a bomb nearby out of washing up liquid on a handwoven rug from Peru, but I’m not. I’m keeping it light and friendly for the paper while simultaneously googling shower curtains that don’t have fish, dolphins or boats on them. (Are there any? Do they exist?)
I lie slightly. We are not completely without furniture. We do have a few fold-up garden chairs to see us through – we’re in our thirties for god’s sake; our coccyxes can’t take too much romantic loafing on hard floors – but the chairs creak ominously and I don’t want my first day in the new place to be marked by me breaking a family deckchair and feeling like a big old bigbutt. I figured the floor can take my weight better because it’s accustomed to heavy sofas and wardrobes, and I’m not quite a wardrobe so here I lie.
I’m looking out at trees, the topper most bit of canopy from the park opposite is like someone has removed our windows and replaced them with a pentaptych of a technicolour Turner painting. I like the fact I can sit here in whatever state I choose and not be seen. In a bleach-splotched towel, butt-naked and scratching my left boob, in a dress I haven’t got the guts to wear in public, in Matt’s old Iron Maiden T-shirt that makes me feel like I’m being dared by the devil to shout at kittens and old ladies. The only thing that will see me is the trees. And they have better things to whisper about than my love handles.
I’m only taking time to reflect quite so romantically because I have run out of cleaning to do. I had satisfied my OCDs within the first few hours of being here and then scratched around idly looking for limescale I could pick off. I’m only writing this because I was in danger of giving myself a cilit bang chemical peel.
We looked at a lot of flats on the route to this one. I fell in love with at least four others – I’m a floosy for rooms – but Matt remain untouched by them all. Until he walked in here. Then I saw something fall across his face that gave it all away. He’d stayed stoney-faced around lots of otherwise lovely properties, but something about this place lit him up like a lantern. He wanted to be here. And so did I. And, after months of solicitors conspiring against us with their unfathomably rude ineptitude, here we are, being here.
Space is so important isn’t it. Where we choose to be, and how it inspires us to be within it. I’m rather glad we’ve got these lush few days of squatting, of having no stuff, of living in emptiness. Our space and time stretched out like a fresh white page before us, new and blank for the choosing.