Opening the door to my new basement apartment the words of the landlord came back to me, ‘It use to be my place, but since I bought this new block I’ve had to move out. Probably needs some paint, but you should be alright.’ Walking through the rooms, I didn’t feel convinced by his statement.
There was an odd smell, which reminded me of my granddad’s house before he died. It was a mixture of tobacco, sweat, onions and old air freshener. The walls painted either dark blue or dark cream, looked discoloured and the floors seemed even worse. There was no carpet in the living room and the one in the bedroom stink of vomit. There was a fitted kitchen and bathroom, the taps leaked in both. As for the furniture it had seen far better days; the old sofa sank in the middle, the bookcase had two broken shelves, the metal bedframe was the old spring kind and the mattress on top of it had nameless stains.
I should have gone and handed him the keys right back. But I had seen worse and anyway, I didn’t have much of a choice since dropping out of college. Plus, this place came with my new job; caretaker. Sighing, I went back to the door and picked up my suitcase. I dumped it in the bedroom and went to get the rest of my stuff from my car.
After I had unpacked, the place felt a little bit better and more like a home. I wondered about for a few minutes, moving things around, before I went for a walk through the apartment block. The stairs and walls were clean, the door numbers were all in place and outside some were small flower pots. It was quiet. Too quiet, I wanted to say, but a few more floors up I heard a TV, then some music and a couple arguing. A baby was crying on the next floor and after that I found a cat outside number thirty, meowing against the door.
I climbed right to the top to room seventy- ‘the penthouse’ and passed that up the stairs to the roof door. You didn’t need a key or anything, because it was a fire exit. I opened the door and walked straight out. A warm breeze rushed passed me and down the stairs. The sun shone above me and I walked to the railing.
Looking over the edge, I watched the outskirts of the city below. Today, I told myself, you start a new life.