About a week and a half ago, the relationship I was in came to an end. She and I lived in a small apartment together, so sticking around didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I’ve been living off my friends’ generosity since then.
I’ve been back to that apartment twice now to pick up some essentials (read: clean clothes) to keep me going for the next little while. My ex wasn’t there. On the second visit, it struck me that both nothing and everything had changed.
On the one hand, it looked as though nobody lived there anymore. The television remote had moved, and her favourite record was now sitting on the turntable. She made the bed for the first time in a long time. But everything else was the same, right down to a few lone beard trimmings around the bathroom sink that always seemed to avoid my attempts at cleaning.
And yet, this isn’t home for me anymore. It doesn’t feel right. It’s no longer the place where I can retreat from the world when I need to switch into Introvert Mode, or simply relax after a long day. That sense of security, familiarity, belonging, love and trust disappeared overnight. It’s just a space like any other. A shell of its former self.
It has never been so powerfully apparent to me that home is a feeling, not a place.