My bedroom here at J’s place is a mess, it’s a disaster that has resulted from moments of varying levels of apathy.
I’ve lived in J’s house for about eight months now. In that time, I feel like I managed to settle in a little bit, I moved some of my condiments and ingredients into the pantry instead of just keeping them separate, I put books on the shelf next to my computer. And yet, there were some things I never really unpacked, nor did I need them, such as my bag that was filled with baking supplies such as extracts and food coloring.
Technically, I had still been living out of a suitcase until about 3 weeks ago, when I stopped using the suitcase to hold the stacks of t-shirts I was wearing and just set them on top of the bin of more clothing where the suitcase had been sitting.
My room is a bit tidier now. I took some of the books off the shelves and put them in a reusable shopping bag. I put my dresses and some other clothes that I wouldn’t immediately need into the suitcase I had emptied out. The pantry downstairs is devoid of anything I brought into the house.
I don’t feel like I ever really settled in here. I had places to put things, and I could use my own things if I wanted. I had a bed, and a room, and it didn’t matter what I did in my room or with my bed because I was the only one sleeping in this room. But it was still J’a place, and I didn’t dare put any holes in the wall without his permission, so I never put up the closet rod so I could hang my shirts. But J was never my partner, and was never going to be. I occupied a space in his house, in his life, and possibly in his heart as well, and while some of that might still continue on, I won’t still be here to grow and become something more in his life, because that was never to be.
A few of the things I’ve packed so far have been left at Libra’s place. He had asked me to move in with him about three days after we met, citing that it’s lonely in the house by himself, which made me a bit cautious. I spoke with my best friend, our mutual friend, and she doesn’t have anything bad to say about him. So about a week ago, I took a few things with me and left them at his place, though a small part of me felt like I was invading his space. This weekend, I took a few more things with me, though it was mostly food from the pantry.
Libra’s house is a mess. There are boxes scattered here and there that are halfway packed, or halfway unpacked. Beer bottles and cans sit on an otherwise unused dining room table, not to mention there’s cans on the countertops, cans underneath the counter on the floor, cans on the floor just underneath the couch. The cupboards and drawers are scarcely filled with food and utensils and what not. The center island is a drop zone, upon which sits a mostly empty box with a few utensils and some silverware in it, a half empty box of soda, a few decorative bits that are covered by empty plastic bags and other bags that have unknown contents.
It would be wrong of me to say that Libra’s house has reached that state due to apathy. When I first met him and came to his place, the trash bin had been tipped over, and he didn’t care at that time to clean up what had spilled. When I had returned about two weeks later, that was cleaned up. Apathy isn’t the cause for his mess, because I’ve rarely seen him throw in the towel and just give up. I see his place as the reflection of his life right now, and while I can’t go into detail, I will say he’s waiting for some resolution to a major event in his life, whether things will conclude and he can move on, or if things will change so drastically in his life that nothing he’s done to this point would matter. Moving in with him, I’m caught in the crosshairs of whatever will come his way, so I’ll have to be prepared with an exit strategy of my own. But I figure, if he was consumed by apathy while waiting for this to all blow over, I wouldn’t be in his life by now.
The past couple of times I’ve visited his place, I’ve managed to arrive before he got home from work, and to occupy my time while I waited, I’ve done the dishes. Libra does have a dishwasher, which is a relief because for the first time in about a year and a half, the dishwasher is named Whirlpool and not Marybeth. However, dishwashers being how they are, I find myself cleaning residue off more than a few pieces, and I’ll hand wash those things and put them away as if they came out of the dishwasher without a flaw.
The last time I visited, I wiped down the stovetop as we were cleaning up after making dinner. This weekend, I wiped down the stovetop and part of the counter, as well as cleaning debris out of two of the commonly used drawers next to the stove.
Saturday night, while he cooked fried chicken on the stove, I cleaned up the center island. The box of utensils was emptied, its contents going into the sink to be cleaned and the box itself going into the wood stove to never be seen again. The plastic bags were emptied and gathered, the contents going either in the garbage or elsewhere depending on what could be used or needed. When I was done, my bottles of liquor that I brought down a week before were sitting on top, able to be viewed at eye level. The decorative pieces were arranged in the center, and I believe I have some candles in storage that I can add to the arrangement to improve upon that. But the best part was that I managed to make it so the center island could be used again, it could be used for additional counter space.
I wouldn’t say I did much this weekend. Overall, I hardly cleaned anything. I wasn’t trying to exhaust myself with overhauling Libra’s place. But I did make things feel a little more comfortable and livable, if I say so myself. The cupboards have a little more food, the drawers have more utensils and ingredients for crafting tasty treats.
And I know that if it were me in his position, I’d feel a bit helpless and maybe ashamed that someone else was doing this cleaning for me. Then again, if I hadn’t done it myself, I couldn’t have emotionally brought myself to doing it anyway.
Libra’s house bears the weight of a family he supported, the ending of a decade-long chapter of his life that will leave him wounded for some time. It’s not my intention to take any of that away from him, because I’d rather have him deal with his emotions and work through it all. More than anything, I want for him to feel like he actually lives in his home. I want him to feel warm and welcomed, to feel he has a place to find comfort.
And I want that for him because I want that for myself. I’m tired of moving around, of packing and unpacking and packing everything up again. I want a person I can grow with, to share things with, and I want to feel like the space we occupy expresses both of our personalities and interests.
Unfortunately, I know that Fate doesn’t like me having or being a roommate for more than eight months, and with Libra’s life issues hanging over him, I have no choice but to accept that this might be yet another living situation that won’t last a year. Maybe it’s not really about me, maybe my path is to help Libra in some way, and my consolation is in knowing if what I wanted in a partner is really what I wanted.
I guess time will tell where things go with Libra. It may still be someplace in between the things in my past that I have to undo and let go of, and the place in life where I’m meant to belong and be mostly happy and satisfied. If I can bring some light to his life, at least my time won’t be wasted.