In the past year we spent a lot more time together, we’ve grown rather close, me and you, this little corner of London that I call home. Now I'm leaving, I'll never live in this little third story flat again. I'll never climb onto your roof up that rickety ladder to breathe in the view. I'll never have another dance party in your lounge or shake an espresso martini so hard it explodes and splatters your ceiling. Our time together, now three years in total, has been the most important time of my life and you were a big part of it.
Before I crossed your threshold first in 2018, I’ll admit I felt like a bit of a drifter. An alien in my Camden university house, feeling like I didn't quite belong, I came to you without much expectation. I hadn't yet found a place in London that felt like home and I wondered if you can ever really feel at home in a city this big. All I wanted was a one bedroom flat that felt safe and clean, maybe too much to ask for in London. When I walked up the stairs into the light-flooded hallway I looked to my best friend who was viewing the flat with me and I think we both knew you were the one.
I fell in love with the sky light and the old sash windows (which I quickly developed a love-hate relationship with as they rattled with the trains and let the drafts in). I fell in love with the bath, just any bath would have been good enough but the way that the afternoon light fell through the blinds making the bath glow was a serene sort of magic hard to describe. I fell in love with the view of the West Way from the kitchen across the tops of the houses. You were my safe and happy place in a world that isn't always safe and happy.
It took a long time to properly unpack, to accept that this was our home. I think this is common when flatting, no? Were your last guests the same? It’s hard to settle in, put picture frames up on the walls and really make it ours. It half feels like someone else’s home and half feels like we’re always about to leave. Finally after two years, I felt like I had finished unpacking.
It’s not that we never unpacked when we first moved in, oh no, we unpacked our stuff and we filled you up. Up to the rim with way too much junk. We then emptied you (a "spring clean" I called it) and filled you up again and again and somehow this process stretched your walls to fit a family, our family of two. A family in the sense that you hold our happy memories and sad moments and frustration at each other and life, and all the stuff (because we still have too much stuff). We come home and collapse and you stay standing upright - apart from the time your ceiling leaked in our bedroom and the dripping kept me up all night.
You've had your fair share of problems, none which we ever blamed you for (of course the blame was fairly placed on the stereotypical London landlord and property manager duo. Their lazy attitudes keeping us all suffering too long). Your leaky roof and stiff windows and blinds that won't stay down and kitchen cabinets that fall apart. You are not and never were perfect, but neither were we and we learnt to accomodate for your quirks as I know you did ours.
So thank you and just so you know, I’m really glad we were stuck here in the past year. Your safe haven made a year of pandemic and lockdowns actually survivable. Now, I'm sad to be leaving but so grateful for everything you taught me, for the safety you gave me and for the memories you've held.
Goodbye home, I hope you make your next tenants as happy as you made me.