This is the journey I delivered to my home planet, away from the strangeness of broken frames, broken vases, and a broken television set. I made do with what I can: pieces of clothing for a week–those I bought with my own, my utensils, my laptop full of articles unfinished. All my books were either sold or lent to my officemates and friends; I never made a profit from any of them. Nothing special to them I think, only clutter in my shelf. In her shelf. No, it was mine.
I locked the ghosts behind me, let them flourish in the furniture I left as a gift. I paid my landlady my dues, such a charm I thought. She deserved all those I left her with, since no one bothers to visit her these days. Her memories are her friends; their presence do not provoke her old dog. “I prefer this silence,” she told me once, as we spent together one Christmas eve in her porch drinking whiskey. “The people I met have all been horrible. I guess this made me comfortable with strangers.”
I could not see my old house from the ship I boarded in; better not. The familiarity of the streets disturbed me with the faces that hallmark my everyday walk to work. I’d be taking a cab now and then, but my salary can handle it. It was like the journey of my childhood, across the pages of Ray Bradbury. This new planet I will colonize with my presence, I will possess with memories anew. And the request had already been granted to me by the man who ‘owns’ it by virtue of papers, of law. But no man, no human, owns the spaces they lend. Not until they guard it with the totems of their world.
When I paid my fees and embarked on its dusty ground, its relics of old greeted me. They are not mine, but they are mine to possess. They don’t in the agreement; if my landlord hadn’t placed it in his museum of antiquities (which came from the strangers who came before me), it might as well be mine. At least they do not remind me of old. They are too dull to remind me of her. But then again, I am reminded of her. Ceramic mugs, fake flowers, imitation photographs framed on the wall. All of them breakable. But they are not mine, and so I will not break them.
One of the mugs–an anniversary mug with a dried lipstick stain–I cleaned up on the sink. It’s a new receptacle for my coffee. The snow had just started to fall and I’ll need all the warmth I can take.