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Write off

  Tue 14th March 2017

Seriouscrush and her boyfriend -- the owners of this house -- came round this morning.

Had the lodgers not still been in bed, they'd have been able to have a look round, and might have been surprised at the state it's in. One of the panes in the back bedroom window moves away from its rotten frame if you try to open it. There was a ten foot by four foot patch of damp in the front bedroom until Nadia painted over it with anti-damp paint. I was very grateful to her for doing it, but I doubt that anti-damp paint solves anything in the long term. The kitchen floor is buckling and the bathroom has no shower, not even into the bath. From my side, there is the issue of my rent arrears.

Nadia's boyfriend told me last night that they'd be giving the room up at the end of the month. Nadia's landed a highly sought-after job in avian conservation, which involves them living in situ on a island in the Inner Hebrides.

Whether I haven't had enough sleep lately, I don't know, but I was almost tearful with the idea of yet again, having to beg interview another set of strangers, and having to adjust, again, to another's modus vivendi, with its pleasures and irritations. I don't earn enough to live here, but I've been here for so long I am sedimented with furniture and bookcases and records and a futon and sofas and god knows what. What do I do with all this stuff? Give it away, I suppose. I'm not attached to anything, apart from my clothes, my records and my futon and the autobiographical geegaws on my mantelpiece, the records of my friends. I haven't got any money and I knew one day that things would start unravelling; and as things unravel, they can hit you.

Anxiously clutching at straws, I rang Trina, and broached the idea of living on her narrowboat for a while. She refused, and said that she wished I hadn't asked her. Afterwards, by text: "...go and live with your mother in Middlesbrough...I'd have done anything to help you if only you'd been able to love me. Good luck x"

I let Seriouscrush and boyf in. I had to shorten middle daughter's phone call; she was sparkling down the phone at having heard this morning that she's got a recall for the acting course at The Old Vic (applicants: c.900; places: 14), and wondering if I could pay her train fare to Bristol in a month's time.

Seriouscrush and boyf wandered wonderingly around the ground floor of the first house they lived in when they got together. In ten (?) years since I moved in, they've been here once. We talked about the state of the windows and the kitchen for a while.

"Well," boyf said, crossing his legs ominously. "Shall we talk about the rent?" Seriouscrush showed me a back of an envelope account of my arrears, which began to accumulate about three years ago. They are more than double the figure I had in my head. They then made this stupendously generous offer.

"Right. We need to sell this place. Our business isn't making much and we need the money -- like we said last time. But it isn't saleable at the moment, and I'd like to do a lot of work on it over the summer then put it on the market." I could sense what was coming, and breathing more deeply with anticipation.

"You can't afford to pay us back this, can you? You're broke. So how about -- we give you notice, say, the beginning of June. We write off this [debt], and you stay here until then with no further payment."

"Maybe if you didn't have to pay us till then, that would be enough for a deposit on a new place."

We let out a collective sigh that the elephant in the room was going to be banished soon. "Why don't we all just go out for a drink in a week or two?" boyf said.

All my life, I have been treated with kindness, each incidence of which surpasses in generosity that of the previous one. They left, and I wanted to run to the pub and douse the tension and anxiety that has tensed me night and day since they told me they were coming round. So I did.


As I go to post this -- sitting at a table next to the jazz section in the library -- I notice to my left a Sonny Rollins CD.

2 comments

Comment from: kono [Visitor]

When you look around at things and see how shit people can be to each other and then something like this happens it gives one a small modicum of faith in humanity… of course some might call it good karma or good juju, you don’t just get that my friend, it’s earned, and so it appears in that account you are in good stead… but why do i have a feeling it’ll all shake out in the end? now off to the pub you!

Wed 15th March 2017 @ 02:16
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Had a great afternoon – it’s Cheltenham Festival at the moment and the main horseracing pub in town was very busy and doing a sweepstake and some free scoff.

Trying to think of a way to thank Seriouscrush and boyf now – make a cake I suppose. That’s always my Thank You Fallback Gesture :)

Wed 15th March 2017 @ 09:11


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