One day, future tenant, all this will be yours. The house plant, the wobbly table, the bizarre equipment in the corner of the balcony that may have been used for torture….it will all be yours, to keep and to hold forever until your lease runs out after a year.
I remember when I was like you, wide eyed with wonder as day by day I discovered the rich variety of ants in our apartment and the necessity to keep everything as sterile as a freshly boiled set of vampire teeth. I, too, chuckled as I realized that none of the lamps in the apartment were equipped with light bulbs and ruined the Italian coffee maker by putting the top part on the stove, causing it to produce water permanently scented with burnt rubber.
The bathroom was a stranger to me as well, especially the shower square with its curtain that you must encase yourself in like a sausage while watching as water still shoots onto the floor despite your best intentions. And yes, I recall the nook, that precious nook in the corner of the first bedroom where I would while away the hours drawing both straight and curvy lines and think about to whom I could send them to as a time-released prank.Those were some of my better years. The ashtray of my mind was not yet full and I saw with youth’s vigor and hope.
And the balcony. Yes, I remember that balcony very well. I had dreams of buying a soccer ball and juggling on it without pants. Sometimes I walked to the edge of the balcony and looked out over the empty street, bad pop music sounding from a distance. It was my world. It will never really be your world, since it was mine first.
And of course, the bizarre bed contraption in the corner. I can see it in my mind’s eye and on this webpage very well. When I first laid eyes upon it I thought it a dilapidated piece of junk, good for nothing except soccer ball storage or unwanted guest accommodation. Upon closer inspection, I found it was something much more special, as if God himself had sent it to us, His final touch on creation and the 2nd greatest gift to mankind. Yes, future lessee, you will be the proud temporary owner of this bedswing, perhaps the only one in the entire world. And yes, the mattresses will be continually damp and half their mass is an accumulation of dust and previous tenants’ skin cells absorbed into them over the years.
But don’t let that take away from the experience of lying on the bedswing, moving slowly yet haphazardly both forward and side to side. As you absorb the view of the roof’s underbelly, perhaps you could imagine the man (or woman) that created this thing and why they did so. Were their beds too dry and dust-free inside? Did they want to reinvent the waterbed with chains, nails, and wood? Were they trying to make a cabinet and didn’t read the instructions correctly? Did they wear glasses? Love their mother?
I’ll let you think those thoughts for yourself, though I’m sure I’ve already thought of all of them since I was here first. I am not the original tenant. Nor am I the owner. But make no mistake, this apartment will always remember me, since I’m going to build a larger and even more bizarre device that will leave the generations to come wondering what happened to that girl and where did she get enough peanut butter to fuel a rocket launch. Just you wait.