It was 11am when he called. I was in the office at my laptop. There were people all around working, checking out Facebook, whatever. The low hum of office chat.
‘Hello,’ I said.
‘It’s Antonio. I just called to tell you it’s done.’
I hung up. I put my cellphone down on the desk and carried on with my work. No-one watching me could have had any idea that the course of my life had changed utterly with that conversation.
Funnily enough a similar scene occurs in one of my favourite movies of all time, Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanours. A man answers a telephone. A voice on the other tells him that ‘it’ is done. He hangs up the phone. Externally he looks just the same as before. In fact, he is irrevocably altered.
In the film the character Judah (played by the late Martin Landau) has been told that the hit job he’s ordered on his mistress has been completed and she’s dead.
Don’t worry, I haven’t had anyone assassinated. But there has been a demise of sorts: that of my former life. For yesterday I threw out about 95% of my stuff and moved out of my apartment in Bermondsey (South London) to an Airbnb in Shoreditch (East London).
Why I did this will become clear in due course. Perhaps it will even become clear to me at some point. But suffice to say that I’ve done it and I’m typing this from the new location that will be my home for the next month. Part of the reason I’ve done it is because I want to live a more minimalist life. I listen to The Minimalists. I’ve listen to James Altucher, a multi-millionaire who only has fifteen possessions and lives in Airbnbs around Manhattan. And in principle I love everything about their ideas. But it was hard saying goodbye to my apartment today.
I went back there to pick up a few things, and to make sure the property clearance guys had done their job. They had. In one day the last nine years of my life had disappeared. The two sofas where I’d sat with numerous different girls had gone. So had the full-length mirror that had reflected back its fair share of fun. In the bedroom the king-sized double bed I’d bought from IKEA (always too big for the room) had gone. The bed that I’d shared with Angela, with Sandra, with Juliet. The on which I’d fucked strippers, shop girls, PhD’s, celebrities daughters, actresses, dancers and models.
The near-misses, too, that had taken place on that bed. The blue balls I’d suffered when the girl from Moldova had got naked with me and then decided not to do anything after all. That time when Marta the Polish girl had come back and given me the runaround.
And my sister, too, used to live in that apartment, at one point, in the spare room. It can be hard, in a way, living with a family member. There are drawbacks. And yet our living together for that time made us closer than we would have been otherwise, and for that I am grateful.
The articles I wrote in that apartment, in the bedroom, in the living room. The movies I watched. The exercises I did on the floor. The terrible meals I ‘cooked’ for girls in the kitchen.
My rational self is fully aware that physical things do not in themselves carry meaning, or emotion, or a soul. That extra dimension is projected onto them by me. By my mind, through my soul. And yet. It was hard to say goodbye to that apartment. I’ve had some great times there. But it was a necessary step.
In taking it, I have made way for the even better times that are soon to follow.
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