requiem for apartment 23

17 Sep

parting with the home in which you spent your happy childhood is very much like a funeral. you leave behind those walls painted with your breath, your life, your memories, rooms now emptied of furnitur awkward like naked bodies in the raw morning light, leave behind all those who were with you in those rooms, those who died in those rooms, those whose last breath went into those walls.

you leave yourself behind, trapped and voiceless inside those walls. you as a two-year old, you on your first day of school.

step onto the balcony. there’s the last sunset over the trees climbing the hills on your right. the clock in the tower on your left, always falling slightly behind. the balcony below, cluttered with stuff from before you were born, the sidewalk beaten by rain and snow. your old high school down the street. and the red-brick church in front of it. it’s here, your life, crammed on the 100 square meters surrounding the apartment like a moat.

you step outside the circle and the magic kingdom slowly dissolves behind you into the most common of things. a block of flats in the middle of a small town. and as the car picks up speed on the motorway and pale fields of grain float on either side, you close your eyes. everything turns black with streaks of gold. and in your mind you hang back the paintings on the walls, arrange the furniture as it was, roll the carpets on the freshly waxed floors. outside the bedroom windows the poplar trees are shedding small cotton clouds. nonna is in the kitchen, making plum dumplings, and granddad is in the living-room, reading the newspaper.

and this will go on as long as you go on.


Posted by on September 17, 2012 in jurnal


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4 responses to “requiem for apartment 23

  1. Ser Z

    September 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I like the last few lines and the conclusion they draw. After having left behind everything and everyone I knew and moving halfway across the globe I eventually came to a similar realization about the mixed feelings I had about “home”.

    I love going back and visiting but the connection to the physical places is slowly becoming less and less unnecessary. All the meanwhile however the memories and feelings, the original places and people are truly with me at all times as precious memories I cherish, memories I can conjure on a whim, memories that “will go on as long as you go on”. It all makes letting go just a little bit easier.

  2. Sheherzadah

    September 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks, Ser.
    Yeah, you are not actually letting go, you are taking it all with you. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn’t.

  3. Cristina

    September 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    You write beautifully and I felt like reading Amos Oz – and you so well know that he is amongst my favourites – and whilst reading your lines I could smell those rooms, see the carpet rolling on the waxed floor, feel the aged walls. I am on that balcony, watching the people passing by, absorbed in their lives, unaware of ours, and I am a bit melancholic as I also left behind so many places and spaces, so many selves of mine. But it is good where we are now and all those memories… priceless.

  4. Sheherzadah

    September 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Yeah, it’s good that we are, as someone dear to me once said. It’s good that we are. Period.


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