I was driving a dear friend of mine home one night a few years ago when they assured me, “when you walk into a house you’re meant to live in, you’ll know”.
Now, I sit on a stained couch, staring at the peeling architraves and scratched floorboards, and I know they were right. I’m going to miss this place so much. I’ve poured two years of my life into this house. I’ve written countless notes in whiteboard marker on our fridge.
“No more milk :(” “you’ve got this!”,
“Merry Christmas, everyone <3”,
“Leftover pasta in the blue container”.
I’ve stuck the most random posters to the wall above the TV – a decade old despicable me 3 poster. A centrefold of cate blanchet. The Rubens poster my sister stole in 2019. A sexual health poster that reads, “get your banana tested before it goes pear-shaped”. A “quiet hour” poster from Woolworths. A “no newspapers” sign from some public bathroom. “Slippery when wet” next to it. A green “Sit here” sticker from a seat on the train from 2020. Of course, measured out by the 7 Yours & Owls posters, plucked from various locations across the Illawarra. I have so many plants now I can’t keep count, but I know that my goldfish appreciates the decor. So do my other housemates, I’m sure.
“Oh well,” I sighed, “time to pack up”. I look at today’s to-do list, scribbled sleepily on an orange post it note late last night.
I wasn’t expecting to get through it all so quickly. I messaged the group chat earlier today, and thankfully everyone is free tonight. “Huge news! Dinner at mine tonight, 6.30ish – be there or be square!”
I ran to the front door as fast as possible, ripped open the door and fell clumsily into a tight, familiar hug.
“Great news!” I smiled. I can’t wait to tell everyone.
“Come in, come in, have you had something to eat? Would you fancy a coffee? I’ll put the kettle on.”
“I came as soon as I could”, she said, pushing herself up to sit on my kitchen bench.
“I wasn’t expecting you until 6”
“I thought I’d come early, see what all the fuss was about, help with tea, you know…”
She seems nervous for me.
“I’m not pregnant”, I laugh. It’s good news this time, promise.
Caitlin is my oldest and best friend. The kind that shows up two hours before the dinner party and gets concerned watching the way I chop vegetables up. I want to tell her my news now, but I’ve kept it this long, and I dont want to jinx it. She’s seen me through my worst and best moments since we were 14 years old, and she can see me through the next two hours.
Neither of us are particularly fond of instant coffee, but it’s tradition. So we sit at the little table near the window as we chat, and we stir our coffees until they’re cold and the sun goes down, and there are friends knocking at the door.
I stand at the far end of my dining table, facing a handful of people who have supported me through university and everything since. We’ve eaten and had a few drinks, and the energy in the room is so light and fond. I hope this doesn’t ruin it.
“I can’t tell you all how glad I am you could make it tonight because, as I said, I have some news.” I didn’t want to jinx it at the time, so I didn’t mention it. Now, I guess I’ve kind of backed myself into a corner. “Rolling Stone”, I said rather timidly. “Yes..” my friends nodded me along. “Well…they saw that piece I did a few months back about whats-her-face, and they reached out to ask me to cover the opening show for this really cool, like, up and coming band.”
Huge smiles swell to fill the room, followed by a series of tight hugs and congratulations. I rather bashfully shoulder a stream of kind compliments ahead of my next announcement, holding back tears.
“I have to move”, I choke, “to Melbourne.”
This part is interesting. I look across a row of faces. Some of them nod and smile slightly, quietly processing my news. Others offer help, well wishes, and another round of hugs. Someone makes a joke about ‘the dreaded Wollongong-Melbourne pipeline’. We all laugh.
I’m going to miss it here.