As the bus I was in was waiting at the bus stop, a man walking by knocked on the window to attract my attention and waved. I waved back at him. It was then I realised who he was - my ex-landlord. The last time I saw him was sixteen years ago when I was moving out of his house after living there for five years.
His house was the second place I lived in after I left home. When I first moved into the first house with some friends, we decided after the first day that it wasn't a good idea, but we had to stay for a month or we would have lost our deposit. It was the longest month of my life. After my friends and I parted company, I found this house that had five bedrooms. I was the first to move in. This time, I didn't know anyone who moved in after, which worked out great. Over the years I shared the house with both men and women. One woman who moved in turned out to be someone I went to school with when I was living in Sierra Leone. We hadn't been in the same year nor were we friends, but I recognised her. We became friends while we were living together.
During my bus journey I recalled more memories of my time at that house.
I remember the blazing rows me and my flatmates used to have about: whose turn it was to clean the house and buy cleaning stuff; who had been eating whose food; who was playing their music the loudest (I used to listen to music all the time); who was having loud sex (one flatmate was renowned for his sexual antics); whose boyfriend was overstaying his welcome, etc.
I also remember the fun and laughter we had: listening to music together; watching television together; cooking and eating together; and ganging up against our landlord and accusing him of not meeting our needs adequately or putting up the rent. Our landlord was quite sweet actually; he used to give us bottles of wine every Christmas.
I remember our landlord used to complain that we didn't look after the front garden and he had to come and see to it. One day I opened the front door and found some cows grazing in the garden. God knows how they'd walked from the local forests, about a mile away, crossed the main road, and arrived at our street. It was the funniest sight I'd ever witnessed. At least they were looking after the garden for us. I asked the cows to visit again and they did, several times. I don't think our neighbours appreciated having cows grazing in their gardens though.
I remember my flatmates and I hosting a party just for the hell of it; it's actually the best party I've ever experienced. We agreed to invite only a set number of guests. As I was going out that evening, I asked my friends to come around midnight. When I arrived with my friends, the house was already packed full and I panicked. We had also invited our neighbours out of pure courtesy, but we didn't expect them to show up. Not only did they turn up, they invited their friends too. We had so much alcohol and I didn't want people getting drunk and making a mess so I took charge of the drinks. That was some party!
I remember our next door neighbour's kitten I was friends with, who used to visit me every day and I would feed her. I let her sleep with me on the proviso that she took regular baths. Once a week I would bathe her, towel dry and blow-dry her hair. At first she wasn't too keen, but she soon got used to my pampering. I was really sad when I moved away because I couldn't take her with me. My flatmates told me after I had moved out, she would still visit and sit outside my former bedroom. Poor love.
Despite the ups and downs of sharing with flatmates, the memories I have of that period are lots of joy, laughter and happiness.
I had another nice trip down memory lane recently when I got in contact with an ex boyfriend via email. During our email exchanges, my friend told me he remembers lots of laughter and fun while we were together. That's all I remember of him too; our joy had erased all the drama.
I love taking frequent trips down memory lane.
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