Day one. Us cleaning the room the bed will go in, talking to each other in serious adult voices; me mopping and you crawling about wiping the floor with paper towels. Us eating feta sandwiches in our underwear because our clothes are too dirty to sit on the mattress, using a paper-covered stool for a table; you cutting up the tomatoes with a blunt knife, kneeling because the mattress is too low for you to sit on; me transferring my teabag into your cup, because it’s larger and because you take stronger tea. Me showering for the first time, uneasy, bringing the mop rag and some laundry with me into the booth, washing the walls first, then myself; you writing in the dust on the other side of the glass ‘LOVE YOU’, messing up only the last letter of the mirrored words. You showering next, with splashing and weird noises; me writing this, worrying that the glass needs to be wiped afterwards, calling myself silly, still worrying, not feeling at home. Us settling down to sleep, surrounded by shadows of old belongings and by dust.
Day two. Me waking up the moment you close the door and leave, wandering restlessly about the place, noticing the floor is still as dirty as before. You telling me to go out, find something to eat, stop worrying; me buying a bucket, riding the bus back with it. Me coming home from a day of meetings, self-conscious about wearing the same t-shirt; you standing inside the bedframe, almost done building it, letting me screw in the last bit. Us watching the kitchen being built, listening to endless accounts of other kitchens, other clients, other problems. Us playing hosts to my parents, our first guests, you stretched on the new bed, a sheet protecting the linen from the dirt on your back; me pointing out little details, the way the drawers slide back and forth, the paint. You cutting up our only pear for me, eating using only the knife. Us falling asleep on the bed, with the overhead light dimmed to a glow, close above us.
Day three. You remembering to lock the front door and leave the bedroom door open; my fears abate, respected. Me washing the shower, enjoying the newness and the music streaming out of our hi-fi sitting cosily on the bedroom floor; it’s Bob Dylan. Me getting worked up about the tile job; you speaking in your adult voice to me on phone. Me making plans to escape; you making plans to come home from work. My fingers red and raw from the washing solution; you forbidding me to clean. Us meeting in town for a bit, you calm, me hysterical. The kitchen finished, us washing the dishes; you rinsing, me toweling. Talking about the place, always; what to buy, to finish, to paint, to bring over from my parents’ house. Me feeling homeless, my sense of home no longer (or not yet) attached to anything.
— I kept this diary for a while, and then we went away for two weeks, returning here, our natural habitat from there on. There is no more point in keeping a log of what goes on, because the place is no longer sacred. For Pete’s sake, we hardly ever mop the floor anymore, or wash dishes together, or care. There’s still a whole room to furnish, and in the bathroom, the tiles are covered in so much residue you pretty much can’t see they’re originally black; our sink is still in its box. Yet somehow, I am no longer in a constant state of shock at us living here now. I can even sleep when A. is not here, which, mark you, is no simple feat for Miss Neurosis 2009.