It was a pretty two-story flat; a living room, a kitchen and a toilet were situated on the ground floor, with three spacious bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Then someone’s hands added two walls and the living room, and one bedroom became four newly created rooms, the house then had six rooms for six people. I accepted one of the half-rooms upstairs, it was then my home for one year. When I moved in, there was also two Spanish, one Swiss, one Portuguese and one Turkish person living there. During time people have changed, I had two Romanian, one Bulgarian, one more Spanish, one Finish and one Thai temporary housemate.
When I stepped out of the front door for the first time I noticed two scratches of paint that looked as Snoopy’s friend Woodstock and a character from Japanese anime Spirited Away or My Neighbour Totoro. Every time I came home and unlocked the door, there they were, both strange characters always there, welcoming me. Being the only person who was always working in the evening, the house was a very quiet place when I would come from work at night with everyone sleeping, and my flatmates would go to work while I was sleeping, so I would usually see people only on my days off.
Days passed, with our routines in the house, until an unexpected message from the agency;
“Hi, Tijana. We have to vacate the property. Make it empty. I am sorry.”
We got just nineteen days to find our new homes. We were all disturbed. As the partition walls were so thin I could hear my closest flatmate in his room (and opposite), soon after moving in I started calling him my half-roommate. He said: “The process of moving out itself is not a problem, I can easily walk out with the suitcase I have. But at the end, this was my home for one year and a half.” The night before we had to move out, I came home, and my half-roomate’s room was soundless – a gloomy sign of a deserted room. The sudden feeling of loneliness pressed my heart. I realised my half-roommate and I never even had a coffee together. We shared the window. We shared the radiator. We could hear each other’s private conversations. We would see each other from time to time and we would talk for a while, our lives intervened and then were violently separated. I didn’t even have his telephone number. The loneliness grew over the next hour. Only one housemate from downstairs was still in the house. Then I heard snoring; my half roommate was still there and was carefree in his sleeping. The sudden happiness and warmness around my heart arose. I took a piece of paper and wrote:
“If we don’t see each other tomorrow, I just wanted to say: I wish you
all the best in your life. If you ever need help or anything I can do, this is my number
I put the paper under his door. When I woke up I found the small note on the floor, which has been delivered the same way. The message on it was:
I wish you all the best too and take care.
Here are my number if you need something”
When I closed that front door for the last time I thought about how we leave our presence in the spaces where we live, that people we meet leave traces in our lives, no matter how close we are with them, that our decisions and the
steps we take (one of thousands of possibilities we choose, in all areas of our lives) direct our lives and shape them, they change us and build something that will one day be our life past, I am leaving the house enriched with the memories created in that small room of mine. I always feel sad when I leave the place I have lived in for some time, with the thought I really liked the place. It must be that the place I start calling home makes me very subjective in my opinion towards it. The cute characters at the front door were silently looking at me when I looked at the house for the last time. I really loved my small half-room.
Tijana, Volunteer Programme Digital Communication Assistant