Today might be the day I get replaced.
I’m sat on my bed, mug of Earl Grey steaming into the frigid air – because it’s a cold, cold day and the central heating has barely sanded the edges off it – and Barry Coward’s Oliver Cromwell is fanned open beside me on page 102. There’s a sleeping-bag draped over my feet to keep them warm (I’ve just pulled it out from under the bed, ready to stuff into a rucksack, and so it was the nearest potential footwarmer). The house smells of hoover, and I’ve got heartburn from drinking my breakfast smoothie too fast.
(Orange juice, grapes, a banana, a pear, an apple, a Happy Shopper Extra Creamy raspberry yoghurt, a reckless scatter of raisins).
In a little while I’ll finish writing this, take a cursory lap of the tiny corner of the Internet you’ll usually find me in, finish my tea, stuff my “Orkney Bus £42 Return” ticket-bookmark back into Barry Coward, and start preparing to be replaced.
At midnight on December 12th, I cease to live in this house. I’m moving to the other side of York, into a huge, beautifully bay-windowed room in a house with two good friends who will become my new landlord and landlady. They’re archaeologists and they move around a lot – so they need a responsible, reliable tenant they can trust to look after the house while they’re away. However, they couldn’t find one, so they picked me instead.
My new house is about a third of the distance closer to the city centre, but at the other side of York – an area I hardly know at all. So it’s a prime opportunity to do some of this. And it’s much nearer the train station, which I’ll be using more frequently in 2010.
But at the end of the weekend, I’m going back to East Yorkshire to look after my mum, who has just had a major operation. I’ll be there for a couple of weeks, I reckon. And I move out Dec. 12th. So it’ll be tight. (However, I’ve been inundated with kind offers of help via Facebook – so the actual moving won’t be a problem – it’s the timing).
While I’m away, there will be potential new tenants turning up to have a look at my room. One of them is going to replace me. This won’t be my room any more – it’ll be theirs. I want to tell them how it’s been a good couple of years in here, during which time I became a freelance writer for the first time.
I want to tell them about the time I was quite drunk and clambered into the wardrobe to see what it would feel like. Or the time my Xbox fell off the recessed shelving and landed on the side of a big bowl of dressed salad, flipping the contents all across the room and making everything smell like a Greek deli for a couple of months. Or the spider that became my friend in the summer, with his own special corner of the room, catching mosquitos and scurrying happily about until Autumn hit and the food dried up and one day I rolled up a magazine and…chased him into one end, trapping him until I could get him outside and slide him onto the hedge.
(I like to think he’s still out there, full and happy. I don’t know how long spiders live. I haven’t looked on Wikipedia. I refuse to).
Bye, room. And bye, this Me.
It’s been fun.
(But next year will be very different).