Putting down roots

This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.

Lock the door, keys in envelope, envelope through letterbox. Then down the stairs, out of the close, along the street. No trace left behind, no dust, no strands of hair, no lumps of blue tack, no marks nor stains nor any other evidence of anything at all. That’s how it’s supposed to go.

But it’s been thirty minutes since ‘The Time By Which I Was to Vacate the Property’ and I haven’t. Normally I can’t wait to leave at this point. When your stuff’s no longer there, your cushions, and your rugs, and blankets, and plants and photos, when there’s no trail of toys and crushed biscuits underfoot, it looks like your home but it’s not. And that’s just weird. But here I am all the same, an hour after I’d finished the cleaning and could have left. I didn’t plan this or anything. And I never would have imagined doing it. But here I am. All the same. Waiting for the sound of the close door opening and shutting, footsteps on the stairs, the letting agent’s key in the lock.

I took my shoes off, and my socks. It’s easier that way, you see. The floorboards are cold, the heating hasn’t been on in days, but that’s okay. Cold feet, cold floorboards, they connect better. It’s working already, I don’t need to look down to see that it’s working. It feels strange, obviously. Not exactly pleasant, but not exactly unpleasant either.

When they arrive, they’ll open the door, and they’ll see me, they’ll see us, me and the flat, and they’ll not know where one finishes and the other begins. They’ll pause. Thoughts will flood through their brain. They’d need an axe. No. Not them. It would have to be the police that do any chopping, or the fire service. They’d need lawyers, definitely, expensive ones. There would be paper work, there would be attention, it would be everywhere, the news, social media. There would be trouble, and it would be trouble for them. No. Easier to turn around, shut the door, leave it for somebody else to deal with. There will be no eviction today.

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