Time to go.
Last night was the final straw. Nothing major. No-one set fire to the building (well, not yet anyway.) I spent the night enduring the end of term, all back to mine, ‘we’re moving out for the summer so we don’t give a fuck about anyone’ crew, entertaining the residents with doors smashing, and screaming on balconies. They were arguing in the corridors, outside my flat. They were standing outside my front door and screeching their pizza order: ‘…STACEY WANTS EXTRA CHEESE!!!’ (Come to think of it, this means they may have discovered a 24 hour pizza service. Either that, or they weren’t really ordering pizza.)
It’s like moving into a shared house, and being ‘old enough to know better’ when everyone else is 19, and in their first home. The vomit in the foyer, the broken bottles in the lift; it’s all getting worse. I never wanted to live there, and I’m in no way sentimental about the dovecot I moved to in desperation.
There is something inherently transient about these new build city flats. They are 90% buy to let, with tenants on a six or nine month lease. Everything is temporary, and nobody cares.
The one redeeming feature of my home has been the view. When I first moved in, Wayne (who lives up the road) claimed to enjoy the sight of the snow on the distant hills. Being as I was half blind at the time, I couldn’t share his joy, but over the months, and at certain times of day, the varied, urban vista twinkles beyond my balcony. I speculate who’s at home in the tower blocks, gaze at the imposing, gothic prison towers, marvel at the fireworks set off by scallies (still, in June) and then worry about the smoke from the burning cars they have stolen.
All this will vanish when the new flats planned in front of me are completed. No longer will I gaze out across the city, savouring the city lights on a clear, crisp winter night. The building works are already a nightmare; the dust makes me wheeze, and settles in seconds on my freshly cleaned surfaces. Work begins at 7.30am, even at weekends. The lift’s been broken for two weeks now, and the front door is permanently open. Apparently someone’s been sleeping in the bin rooms.
My home enjoyed a brief moment of youth, when all was new, and everything functioned, but the block’s descent into slum housing is unavoidably underway. The caretaker pleads with the management company – who ignore him, or have ‘meetings’. My landlord promises a solution but then disappears on another of his endless holidays. There’s nothing I can do about any of this, except leave.