My housemate is one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. Last year after going through a tough break up, I was in a house full of memories, surrounded by someone else’s stuff, going slowly insane while living on a diet of cheese and biscuits and gin. I hated being in the house and was in it most often on my own. My ex-partner’s things were left in this semblance of normality that made me feel as though I needed to tear down the walls to breathe. It was like a disaster had hit and all the happy people in the house had walked out with only what they were wearing on. It made me feel like I was still living the life I had made the very difficult choice to leave. Then along came Bae.
I had disassembled the arrangements of furniture as I had disassembled myself. I slowly moved huge pieces of furniture around on my own: an eight seater wooden table, dining chairs, bookcases, rugs, and lounge suits. I tried my best to rearrange the house to make it look less like it had during the old life while waiting for my ex-partner to arrange for it all to be collected and taken away. When I said I was looking for a housemate I wasn’t organised, but I needed one to either move to or to move in with me. I needed the ‘out’ I had asked for months before.
I put word out on Facebook to friends that I was searching and Bae contacted me. She came to look at the space I had for her and she didn’t stop smiling the whole time. That’s what she does though. She smiles. We talked things over and she was keen. Finally the contents of the house were taken away and I was able to begin collating and purging my things in the space that became available. Bae moved in and filled all the empty parts of the house with happiness.
The house was chaos, but there she was, this wonderful and constant joy in the midst of the furniture that was slowly taking new places. She filled the fridge with food and got me eating properly again. She brought her musical instruments into the house and now we sometimes jam in the music room together. She teaches drums and the rhythm of her sticks on the practice kit is a beautiful background noise to my daily life.
We stand in the kitchen window and wave to one another as we drive in and out of the garage. We took out a wine subscription together and we sometimes sit on the kitchen floor and have a few glasses. We ask each other about our days when we get home from work. She always greets me with ‘hey Bae’ and I can tell from the tone of that greeting what her day has been like. For my birthday she cooked for me, sat with me and watched a movie of my choosing on our little two-seater couch, and gave me a chess set. She then proceeded to completely kick my arse at chess. We leave notes for one another on the fridge and make work lunches for one another. We eat pancakes together some Sundays. We go for long walks in the cold rain. I’m going to see her in one of her bands this weekend.
She talks to me about politics and philosophy, with her hair up in a careless bun. She drinks too much coffee. She always asks if she can eat my food before eating it, even though I bought it for both of us. I force her to listen to my James Bond fan fiction writings, which she dutifully tells me she loves and reacts appropriately to all the plot developments. We apologise to one another constantly about small things like ‘sorry I didn’t do the dishes’ or ‘sorry you had to put the bin out.’
I don’t know why I’m writing this for all the internet to read, but I guess maybe it’s to remember. I have lived long enough to know that the most beautiful things don’t last forever so I’m doing my best to be fully present with her in every moment we have together. I know that for the rest of my life I’ll be thinking back to these moments of happiness: the sound of her practicing piano; sitting on a footstool outside her bathroom so we could chat while she had a bath; her asking if I want to drink red wine before we go for a walk; her walking into the room and asking me for life advice. I know she calls many people Bae, but she’s the only one I use that title for. So yeah, I want to remember, but I want to know that at this moment I appreciated her for everything she means to me.
On a different note, these photos were taken on a lovely day with my family when I got to meet one of my heroes: Stephanie Alexander. She signed a book for me, which was ace. I also got to drop in to Cliffy’s which is now owned by an old friend I made during my time studying Novel Writing.
Jacket: gift from Erin
Brooch: Bok Bok B'Gerk
Earrings: c/o The Peach Box
Location: Cliffy's Emporium, Daylesford