It seems like only yesterday that I was nervously sitting in my new room having been dropped off by my mum, and wondering what life in Essex would be like. I hoped that I would like the university, that I would get on with some (if not all) of the people on my course, and that I would do well at the subject. I was also hoping that my flatmates would turn out to be normal people, but then you can’t have everything (only joking Chris). Moving out again seemed too far away to even contemplate, and yet it happened, that room, which was my home for the last 10 months, is mine no longer, and never will be again. I doubt I will ever enter the building again, let alone the room. This made me think. I’m the sort of person who gets ridiculously attached to stuff fairly easily (anyone who has seen the amount of clutter in my room will be nodding furiously, and my mum will be rolling her eyes in agreement, or would if she were ever to read this), and so it was with this room. I had reason to like it straight from the off, as it was massive, and in fact the largest one in the flat. Chris labelled me a ‘scumbag’ for this, and I suspect he hasn’t forgiven me since. Also, it became my base (so to speak), the one place that was mine in an area I had never really been to before. OK, I had visited for an open day, but that doesn’t really count.
As I was sitting in my room on friday night, surrounded by bags and boxes full of my stuff, looking at the bare walls, exactly as they were ten months previously, I realised that come October, someone else will be going through exactly the same thing. They too will regard that room as their home. The thought of someone else living there before them, and indeed after them will seem stupid, but at the same time they will have accepted that idea, and it will not cross their mind again, until they too are moving out, passing the baton to the next person who will probably go through the same thing once again.
The strangest thing about moving out was how quickly I managed to pack everything away, and erase every trace of my presence, insodoing, wiping it clean of all the personalised touched which had built up since the previous autumn. The desk lamp was back on the desk, and not in the corner where it had been moved to make space for my computer and free up a plug socket. The inflatable sofa was gone, never to squeak embarrassingly in that room again. The posters, which had been rearranged a couple of times until I was completely happy, were gone, leaving only blank walls for the next person to smother with whatever they wanted. My duvet cover no longer gave the room a splash of blue, and the bathroom was now completely empty, apart from the scummy bar of soap I left behind lest I smear it all over my neatly packed towels. The stereo, which had probably driven the person above me mad frm time to time, was now back in its box, as were the CDs which had occupied an entire shelf. Would the next person use the shelves for their CDs, or would they bring a rack from home? What would they put in their drawers? Would they leave the bed as it was, or move it somewhere? Would the maintenance people have go round to oiling the groaning bathroom door by the time they moved in? Above all else, why did I care? Why? Because it’s MY room, and they will just be a lodger I have allowed to stay there. It will always be my room.
The person before me probably said the same.