I am asked to write down my addresses for the past five years. I stare seriously into nothingness as I mentally recount those places. I see my name above lines of addresses.
At 167 Broadway, I lived for a year in a freezing apartment. It was the bottom floor of a grand mansion. The rooms were ridiculous with high ceilings and endless rows of windows. It had a bathroom as well as an en suite. I moved in during a cold March, having viewed the flat on a bright Saturday in February. I don’t know how I afforded it. In the bedroom were a set of shelves which were hidden by the door. I had all my poetry books lined up running through the colour spectrum of the spines. White along the top shelf, bleeding into purples, greens, oranges, blues and then black. The kitchen was vast. The living room colossal. By that October I was never out of a jumper and always slept with extra blankets. I never felt like I could ever really get warm. I slept badly due to the cold and woke in the night to have herbal tea to keep myself warm.
At 123 Park Road, I lived for seven months. Sharing the house with others I barely knew. The house was old and slightly better heated than the previous place. The room I rented had a huge fireplace in the corner, which on occasion would produce the largest spiders I have ever seen in my life. I paid a flat rate of rent to the guy who was standing in for the landlord. I tried my best to be good and nice but he would always make me shudder. He was a strange and awkward presence, never really leaving the shared kitchen day and night. After a huge Hallowe’en party (a story for another time) I moved out. He decided to keep my deposit for spurious reasons and wrote several further letters demanding more money, threatening legal action if I didn’t pay up.
At 86 Burghley Road I lived for five Months (of a six month contract). Heat wasn’t an issue in the bedroom upstairs, but the electric heater emitted the most disgusting smell into the winter evenings. I spent my time up in that bedroom, avoiding the living room downstairs. It was cold and my ex moved himself down there after we broke up a month and a half after moving into the house. We had been together for two and a half years. If I really thought about it all, I could get dragged down into that time. I can’t quite believe it was only five months. I think when you are unhappy, really, seriously unhappy, each day feels longer. I spent every weekend at home with my parents. I’d come back to the house late on Sunday nights, usually to nobody, and cry. It is embarrassing, but I wailed like a hurt child. Leaving that house was leaving that life and it was sad and liberating and wonderful, but it still left a mark on me for a long time.
At 23 Highgate Close I have lived for two years. Balancing out the previous two years, rather expertly. Coming here was finding a new life. Things have not been perfect. I have been sharing with people who have annoyed me and I’m sure I have annoyed them. Things have been hard and frustrating and the winters have (once again) been cold. But this time I’ve had my knitted blankets to keep me warm and I’ve had the company of a lovely man who has kept me happier than I ever thought I could be. I have managed to find a life that I feel happy with, a life I feel happy with and happy to work at making better. When you are happy, the days, months and years seem to go quicker. This is my experience. I’ve been happy and lucky ever since I came here. Now I am ready to leave.
And now a most glorious thing has happened. I am currently awaiting confirmation of my next address.