Since I returned to the city last week, I have not had the time to dust the apartment properly. I have put things away, but the dust still lingers. I will do it on the weekend, of course, when life lets me breathe a bit.
A lived-in space is never wholly sterile; there is always some dust. A lived-in space confesses instantly. It does not wait to show you its cracks and stains. The fibres on the rugs tell you they have been there for years. Desks are nicked, and tables are scratched. We cannot expect that from a set. It takes time for identities to flow into these inanimate objects.
They often say people who live in a home do not know its smell. It lingers, but their brains have learned to push it out. Watching a film earlier tonight, I realised at some point that this very thing had broken my immersion. There was no dust, no sense of a person living in a room where people were supposedly enjoying their breakfast. Something, I reckon and in the spirit of the story, they were not doing for the first time there. Of course, it was fiction, so we cannot be too harsh on any completed work, regardless of its flaws. To see things through completion begets that respect.
For all the words I have written here, I am not an inch closer to the kind of writer I want to become, and the only one who knows all my doubts is this desk.
It has been over three years since I moved into this apartment, and it, too, was eerily empty at one point. But now, despite my fastidiousness, you can spot the occasional error: a pile of books pushing down on a shelf about to give way, dust in places I could never be bothered to clean, cobwebs in the corner of the false ceiling, plants: thriving and struggling, the occasional harmless spider in some corner minding its business, and how each corner has a memory of its own.
The jazzy arrangement of my mind is out and alive in this apartment—a melange of clutter and system. What will happen to this life when I inevitably leave the city? Few things are harder to leave behind than the life you built with your two hands.
I am of two minds about it all. It has, fittingly, come to my realisation that I do not have many fresh starts left within me.