leaving number sixty one
I still remember the very first time I set foot in this apartment block... I'd tagged along with Lownee when she came to inspect the place. Interestingly though, it wasn't this apartment, it was the apartment right in the corner of the block and it was so very dark and dingy I'm really not surprised that she didn't want it.
The agent later offered her this place and she took it. But coming from a big old share house she never quite settled into the apartment, I think it was just too small for her and made her a little bit stir crazy (she did end up visiting us a lot). So when Ludo decided that he and I really shouldn't live together any more (without consulting me on the matter first I might add), the plan was hatched that we'd swap... I would move in here and Lownee would move in with him.
That was 1996, give or take. Lownee and Ludo disappeared off into the ether circa 2002, but I'm still living here... until tomorrow at any rate.
Even though Lownee only lived here for about six months, I still have a couple of fond memories of hanging out with her here... although, to be honest, they're pretty much all from the same night. That was the night she spilled pasta sauce on the carpet (the stain is still there under my bookcases)... and then later that night we invented the modern Pantheon of deities (and blessed be to Rental Agreement, God of Housing for the boon he granted me with this new apartment... and I also offer up a little prayer to Schlepp, God of Moving for tomorrow's festivities).
I remember the day we swapped apartments too... not the date or even what time of year it was (although my brain says that it was summer, or possibly early autumn... I have a feeling it was between Christmas and my birthday) but I know that it was the first time I'd met Lownee's parents and her dad gave me a hand-crushing handshake... I remember we had to move her furniture outside the apartment first so we could get my stuff inside. I remember that once everything was all done, Ma went and got Chinese food while I took a shower (and the first shower in a new place after a day of moving is a little like having really good sex) and we watched something on my little tiny TV with it perched on the kitchen bench because the rest of the room was too full of boxes, bookcases and parts of my old modular lounge.
And there were only four pieces of furniture left that came with me on that move... and I'm not taking any of them with me, they'd all been relegated to the communal dumping area outside (and have since all been snapped up by people wandering by). In the seventeen years I've lived here, I've replaced everything else at least once.
As I look around the place, I can see the apartment both as it is right now (ie somehow both full of cardboard boxes yet also feeling quite empty) and how it was that first night, and almost every point in between (there's even photographic reference for 2006, 2008, 2010 and earlier this year).
I remember sitting on the old green rocking chair when Mouja the cat wandered into the apartment... I remember spending a lot of time talking to Raury and Sheba and J on that big ugly modular couch... or in the case of Sheba, deconstructing the couch somewhat so we could enjoy a floor picnic every Wednesday evening. I remember the first time I ever had Indian food was also with Sheba during said floor picnic.
And I remember when I got my first computer here, well Raury made it for me to be honest... and those first adventures on a quite young internet... then the upgrade to the computer I used to start this blog. And then bringing the laptop out of the bedroom with the arrival of Beast.
I also remember sitting at that second computer when BlueDragon was visiting and him coming to stand next to me wearing nothing but the cute little Bonds (I think) undies I'd bought him. Actually the two stronger memories from his week long visit are the image of him sitting on the floor packing on his last night while we had a conversation about a whole lot of shells we'd collected and the fact they wouldn't survive the trip in his luggage and then there's the memory of sitting up in bed with him resting against my chest and drawing me a floor plan of his house. Okay, there's also a couple of memories about the sex in there too.
Speaking of which, one thing that this apartment has seen probably more than it's fair share of is sexual encounters... there's been a lot of random strange through that door. There was The Best Sex of My Life, there was Marc, and Phoenix, and that incident with the spanking... and way back at the dawn of time there was the threesome with Ant and Whatshisname (seriously, why the hell can't I remember his name... I probably have it written in a notebook somewhere, but my whole life is in boxes at this point... update: found it, Dax)... the very physical session with Hot Sweaty Monkey Boy in which no words were spoken, but I just threw him bodily around the bed and everybody got to their happy place... right up to Alex who has become something of an irregular playmate of late and as of this afternoon also has the dubious honour of being the last person I'll have sex with in this house.
There have been guys that were memorable, guys that were forgettable, guys I wish I'd never invited over, guys I was happily surprised with when they arrived and guys I wish had come to visit more than they did. I'm not even going to attempt to do the maths... partly because I know that I wouldn't actually be able to come up with an accurate number but also because it'd be a reasonable sized number... but perhaps not as large because I'd only be counting guys who came here.
Anyway, I've had a lot of sex in these four walls over the past seventeen years, let's just leave it at that.
And of course I photographed a whole range of young gentlemen in various states of undress within these walls... on a strictly (amateur) professional basis of course.
I've lived here through at least three different landlords, and a vast panoply of neighbours. The original folks who were here when I moved in... the slightly goth gay gentleman with the great furniture... the old guy who went off his medication one weekend, spent far too long on my doorstep talking to Lownee when she was visiting, then broke someone else's window the following day and was hauled off later that week by the police and an ambulance... the girl from upstairs who occasionally had really, really noisy sex with her boyfriend in their bathroom and who I spent a couple of hours with once when a bird crashed into her window and she didn't know what to do with it... the short, dark haired girl from next door with the really gorgeous boyfriend who I nearly invited in after they'd had a massive row and she'd thrown him out of the apartment. Through to the Asian student with the guitar who lived upstairs... the annoying guy with the skateboard who used to ride up and down the courtyard... the hot wog boy with the motorcycle who gave me a beer while we chatted on our respective doorsteps... all the way through to the tide of inconsiderate and frustrating neighbours I've been putting up with for the past seven(ish) years.
I'm hopeful that Rental Agreement has seen fit to gift me with a building full of neighbours who are much easier to live with. I'm pretty sure there's at least one other gay in the building (if the rainbow flags on one of the cars in the carpark is to be believed) and there was a very cute boy filling a car with a bunch of stuff the day I was there for the inspection... so I'm hopeful that I'll have better or, at the very least, more attractive neighbours.
This place has also seen the birth of a whole bunch of routines in my life... from the fortnightly movie night and the Saturday shopping adventures with Ma, to my morning walk.
But you know what, even though both the current landlord and most importantly my neighbours have driven me crazy and the apartment is falling to pieces in a hundred little ways (and has been for a while since it was always an uphill battle to get the landlord to do anything), I'm going to miss this place. It was the first place I ever lived alone, it's seen me through most of my twenties and essentially all of my thirties (bar three months), it's seen the rise and fall of relationships with a number of very important people in my life and even to this day I still find myself walking in and saying "Hello Little House".
I'll miss the bright yellow countertops and the view of the sunsets and sunrises and the big wall of windows and the feeling of snugness and the ability to stickybeak on everyone as they come and go and the sense of contentment I get walking through the door... and even though I'm taking them with me, I'll miss the memories that every square inch of this place brings flooding back, even now as I sit here surrounded by cardboard and the detritus of my life.
So there's really only one thing left to say... Goodbye Little House and thanks for the memories.