Move Me…

There are not enough drugs in the world to make me excited about moving house. I could put all the white powder in Columbia up my nose and I would still be sitting on the edge of my futon bed, head between my knees, and pleading with myself: Please no, not again. Not another week in packing, stacking, shifting and lifting- lifting being my least favourite, as from the last three years of begging for rooms on my knees I can only now only lift with my back.

My new housemate doesn’t know that I am leaving yet. He has been locked in his room for three days and I’m starting to get nervous. No, not nervous; being nervous would suggest the possibility of a positive outcome, but when a housemate has begun slipping origami versions of you under your door at night it’s impossible to be positive. Sometimes the origami dolls will be wearing little origami dresses and sometimes little origami bondage costumes, but they always have “Kate” written on the back and “loves Kevin” written underneath. So no, I’m not nervous, I’m plain scared. I start pushing things into boxes again with no regard to categories; I want this to be quick so that I’ll be ready tomorrow to go stay with my sister, only for a few weeks until I can find another place.

“You’re moving again?” My sister said to me when I asked if I could stay. “Just smack a God-damn lock on your door and let him make all the little people he wants.”

I did feel bad about moving again, but I knew a lock wouldn’t solve it, God knows with Kevin’s paper crafting skills he could make his own key. Anyway, who really cares if this is my third house this year. It could be worse, it could be a third yeast infection, a third gangrenous limb, in fact there are plenty of things that are much worse to do in multiples.

I’ll start moving tomorrow at dawn. Kevin usually doesn’t wake up until midday,  so that should give me enough time. It would be easier and quicker to shift with movers or friends, but tomorrow I’ll be going it alone. Movers are too expensive and sadly my friends have all given up.  Last week when we were out to dinner I asked who wanted to help and explained the ‘little Kate dolls situation’ but they just stared across the table, accosting me with disappointed looks usually reserved for sex offenders or rehab drop-outs.

“Come on. I swear this time I am going to make it work. This time will be the last.”
They clamoured to make excuses about their mothers or dentist appointments and I excused myself to the bathroom only to hear little whispers behind me saying “Moving again?” and “I swear to God, she needs to make friends with actual movers.”  I wanted to be angry but I can see their point; there are only so many times you can get your friends to carry beds for you and by my approximation that number is about ten.

As someone who previously thought Sartre was a type of car, the closest I’ve come grasping the dizzying lows of existentialism is through box packing exercises. The existential crisis brought on mainly by the fact my entire university career fits into a hard drive, a USB stick and a box that used to house bananas. That’s right; my university career has the same square inch value as a box of twenty-four Lady Finger bananas; the realisation makes me weep.

It’s not only the bananas that make me feel insignificant. They say people feel small when they look at the stars, but I can stare at them until my eyes dry up and feel nothing but a vague discomfort not unlike conjunctivitis. I know that they’re billions of little suns with little solar systems surrounding them each, each with aliens that could explode us into oblivion any second. And sure, looking up into the never-ending abyss makes some people consider their utter insignificance. But personally I just don’t care. It is nothing compared to the insignificance I feel knowing my entire life, asides from a bed and an arm-chair, fits into a tiny 2000 model Hyundai Excel. By the time everything is loaded in and I too get into the car I can’t help but feel I have finished the final round in life Tetris, that there is nothing left to do but explode into a glittery mess, write my name on the high scorers list, and check out.

I hear a loud scrunching noise come from Kevin’s room and am worried that he too can hear me. I wonder if he can tell the difference between general noises and packing noises. I saw in a documentary once that when people go blind they get super-powered hearing and although Kevin isn’t blind his complete lack of people skills are comparable to such a disability. Perhaps he knows I’m about to skip out on him or maybe I’m being paranoid and he’s happily sitting in his room folding a life-sized Kate piñata.

I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming. Kevin seemed a bit off kilter with his bug eyes and slight twitch but he didn’t seem dangerous. Then again he could have been stroking a rifle at the interview and I wouldn’t have noticed because the house was so beautiful. It’s a large double storied terrace with a green roof and ivy creeping up along the bricks. The room was huge, the rent was cheap and best of all the food was kept in jars. To some this may not seem a great incentive, but as my pervious house taught me, such a thing was truly to be worshiped.

My old house was a small, dirty flat where food seemed to be kept wherever it fell; on tables, in between couch cushions, under blankets but never in canisters or on shelves. It was not unusual for my old housemate, a 45-year-old man named Martin, to walk out into the lounge in his underpants and ask whether I’d seen a piece of food that he had been eating and  had ‘lost’ somewhere. This is a problem that simultaneously astounds and disgusts me. Sure people can lose a shoe or their keys, that’s normal, but to lose food on a regular basis asks some pretty serious questions. Questions like “why were you eating Cheese-In-A-Can in the shower” or “what makes you think the thirty-second rule can be extended to thirty days”’

On one occasion he had lost half an unwrapped Picnic bar and wobbled tummy first into the lounge to get help finding it.
“Do you mean the half-eaten, starting to melt, going a bit white, spent two days fusing to my Pride and Prejudice DVD, chocolate bar?” I’d say.
He gave me as look as if to say, well yes, that is exactly the one I was looking for.
“It was on the telly…” His eyes lit up like a squirrel who’d found his nut, but were soon extinguished as, in the same breath, I also announced that it had been binned. Rather than accept his loss he sadly tottered to the kitchen to see if it was salvageable.
I spent two months in that house thinking that although he was round and dirty he wasn’t really such a bad sort. That was until I found half a sandwich left on a pile of books next to the toilet, which I found again the next morning, with another bite taken out. It was then I knew I had to move out before I found myself drowning the filth weasel in a bucket of bleach, stuck in a trance like Lady Macbeth saying “A little water will rid of us this deed”.

The week after the toilet-sandwich incident I found Kevin’s ad in the local paper and arranged an interview, though in truth my expectation and requirements from a new housemate were low. I would have just as easily moved in with Charlie Manson if he were sedated and had a nice view of the city. Moving share houses in a hurry is a lot like changing boyfriends: you don’t always have to trade up to feel good, but can trade sideways and still get the same level of satisfaction. They didn’t have be great, they just had to not be the last one. There had been three in the last twelve months: Kylie-move-her-Mum-into-the-lounge-Simmons, Ellen-loud-sex-eat-all-my-food-Smith, and of course Martin-toilet-sandwich-filth-weasel-McGregor. As long as this Kevin fellow was just a little better than them I would consider myself lucky.

The interview was set for a Saturday night. I arrived on time and in the romantic light of dusk I fell in love. I wanted to kiss the green painted door and stroke the ivy, and as I waited for him to let me in I whispered to the elegant silver knocker and the mosaic decorated pots “You will be mine”.

Inside Kevin sat on a couch opposite me with a clipboard and a pen. He wore a black t-shirt that would have better fitted a bean bag than his tiny body. He said he was twenty-five and in the face he was probably right, but everything else made him look like a fifteen year old boy.

“Rent’s only two-hundred a month with no bond as the Paper factory down the road owns the place and it’ll stay cheap so long as we fix whatever breaks ourselves, got it?” He spoke like a school-master crossed with a Playboy Bunny; strict but abnormally shrill. “First question” he continued “What makes you think that you’ll keep a room suitably?”

Suitably? Wasn’t everyone suitable to ‘keep’ a room? Wasn’t that everyone’s job to collect things and put them between four walls then sleep amongst it? If he didn’t give me the room or indeed if nobody would I would have to resort to a supermarket trolley, or a shop alcove, which at only having three walls put me at risk of having my things stolen. He looked at me seriously, nodded and appeared to jot down my answers saying ‘walls…not alcove’, afterwards reporting that my answer had resulted in a negative mark. The house shimmered with its polished floorboards, high ceilings, and deliciously big windows. I started mentally redecorating; I would move the computers from the kitchen table, put some flowers there, change the curtains, put Kevin in his room, and the place would be perfect. Losing any more marks was not an option.

I answered quickly and seriously; yes, I had a job. No, I didn’t have a pet. Yes, I paid bills on time and yes, I was very happy with a Microsoft Excel formatted cleaning roster. He asked if I had any hobbies to which I said I enjoyed fly-fishing, computer science, origami and whatever other book titles I could see on the shelf behind him. Who cares if I didn’t like these things as long as he did, and he seemed to as his hand went about making big ticks on his sheet. The interview ended and he showed me out the long, freshly painted hallway saying I had scored well and would be contacted should my application be successful.

A week after I moved in Kevin stopped talking to me, any verbal contact seemingly substituted with a weird moaning noise that arose from his room nightly. I got neither the chance to move his computers or change the curtains and any flowers I put around were quickly disposed off; the empty vases filled with post-it notes saying “flowers give me anxiety”. Regardless of his madness I was determined to stay. The house spoke straight into my heart saying that one day I could put out fresh pitchers of lemonade and sunbake on the lawn, that  it would possible and all I had to do was  never surrender, that perhaps Kevin could be kidnapped on the way home one day and the place would then be mine. I thought I would never surrender until the dolls, those creepy mini-me origami dolls, began arriving under my door. Only now, three months later, now that the dolls have sprouted whips and mouth-gags, I am ready to give up the dream and run the fuck away.

Kevin’s bedroom door slams and I can hear his feet dragging closer to my door. This is it. He’s bringing his huge piñata-Kate and is going to kill me with it. I’ll be bludgeoned by a man that doesn’t know how to make toast.
My door swings open and he stands in silence, his eyes bugging out and his mouth pursed ready to speak.

“My Mother… My mother…” I half expected him to say he killed her and and that I’d have to start climbing out the window to escape, yet with a strange morbid interest I stayed on.

“She’s been in an accident, her legs are broke and I’m moving back to Sydney to look after her. If you want you can stay on the lease.”

Accident?! Broken legs!? Fatastic!!

I didn’t know this broken-legged Mum, but I wanted to kiss both of her bloodied knees.

Before creeping back to his hollow Kevin turns to ask “ What’s the deal with all these boxes in your room, not going somewhere are you?”

“Oh these?” I smile, “they’re  nothing, just keeping things safe, paper dolls and such.” I shoot him a sharp look and he slithers back into the hallway, leaving me victoriously whispering to the walls ‘You are all mine’.

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