Before going to university, I had lived in the same house for as long as I could remember. I’m now in my third year, and having moved into a new place for the last three summers in a row, can safely say a big thank you to my parents for staying put for so long.
I used to think that moving house would be fun. You get a brand new space, a chance to decorate from scratch, and a bona fide excuse for a shopping spree. (New house means new bed set. It’s just good sense.) Moving into halls at the start of uni did nothing to prove me wrong; I bought a whole heap of new stuff and my room was lovely: double bed, en suite bathroom, desk big enough to sleep on, and clean. So very clean – apart from the collection of bins right outside my window, which not only smelt and looked ugly, but which also attracted a loudly violent gang of seagulls to fight and scream over the best pickings at an unspeakable hour each morning.
Still, at least the mess was outside. Sadly it was (in more way than one) all downhill after Freshers. My house in second year featured a bathroom which, much like a ‘hellmouth’ in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spewed forth ghastly creatures at an alarming and almost unrealistic rate. Tiny flies flowed forth from an unfound hole behind the toilet, living just long enough to hurl themselves kamikaze style at your naked body while you tried to shower, before dying plastered either to you or the bathroom wall. When I moved in, instead of being welcomed into a fresh page, I was ushered into a mass grave of tiny fly bodies. And the spiders, instead of doing the predictable, and in this case helpful spider activity of gorging themselves on the fly infestation, seemed to be working with the flies to force their enemy – me – to beat a hasty retreat. Thinking strategically, the spiders abstained from fly-catching, and instead captured and then built their gossamer bases around all of my key resources. Every plug socket in my room had an eight-legged accompaniment. Using my laptop, my hair drier, and my fairy lights became a battle of speed, agility, and bravery. Their victory was a year in the making but they chased me away in the end. (I did slay a fair few of them, but I’m no Buffy.)
This year’s move-in to a modern flat, previously rented by compulsive cleaners was, on paper, a safe bet. Sadly it started with Boyfriend opening my fridge, and saying, before scooting out of the front door, “Ah. You don’t want to see this.”
Reader, here is some sound advice from me to you: never say those words to someone with an overly active imagination, unless it is your goal to inspire terror in the heart of the owner of said imagination. When I finally plucked up the courage to investigate, the fine layer of mould covering every shelf was almost a relief. I had been picturing a fridge-full of severed horse heads and a landlord who was either some sort of mafia mogul or die-hard Godfather fan.
I only have a year left of university and I will most likely be moving back into the house I grew up in for a little while after I finish. A house with memories and without mould; with family and without flies. No wonder people are waiting later and later to leave home.