An ode to my flat
Today I have to phone the estate agent to put my flat on the market. This is a sad day indeed. My little, one-bedroom flat in Bethnal Green has been my bedrock for nearly 6 years and I love it.
I remember the day we first met, I was wondering where the hell I was as the estate agent drove me through the back streets of East London; grand thoughts of living in North London dashed by my meager salary and inability to get a large enough mortgage. However, upon opening the door into a light, airy wooden-floored flat it was love at first sight.
A year later, when London won the Olympic bid, I thought my luck was in as visions of renting my flat out for £thousands in 2012 floated in front of my eyes. I now find myself going against my better judgment and selling up before 2012 hits – and there was me thinking I’d never leave.
My flat has seen a lot of everything… lots of parties, lots of tears, lots of arguments, lots of friends, badly cooked chicken soup, and cheesecakes to die for. It’s seen me fall in and out of love with people, cigarettes, alcohol, and items of clothing. Embarrassingly in the first few years the nearby community saw a lot of this too as I didn’t invest in curtains till 2007.
Overall the place has been pretty loyal. The boiler hasn’t packed up and the shower’s only broken once; I’ve never been burgled and I’ve always had nice neighbours. I was even lucky enough to have a friend design the lighting for me: No more bright lights and ugly lampshades from John Lewis for me, it was all dimmer switches, and minimalistic spotlights on metal tracks.
Inevitably, there are some things that have never been quite right. I still have to have an indoor aerial in the living room because the aerial point is in the bedroom. The wi-fi is temperamental. The fridge is tiny with an even tinier freezer compartment, and I stare in envy at friends that have a huge fridge freezer that spurts out ice cubes from a gap at the front. The intercom is basic, despite all their promises the building owners are yet to put pigeon holes in for post, and we won’t even mention the 6 year battle to keep my parking space clear of commuters trying to avoid the congestion charge.
All that aside, it’s been a great 6 years and some change is more terrifying than others. Selling my flat is like finishing a story, it’s saying goodbye to a best friend, it’s graduating university; and while I thought it would always be there, I guess that everything comes to an end eventually.
Anatole France once said ‘All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another’.
Thanks Anatole, I couldn’t have said it better myself.