For six years I watched the sun track the changing seasons across these walls (though not often this early in the morning). White walls, the colours as always are in my head. Pastels lately, mostly bright colours faded with time and too much sun. They are bare now, the rooms echo. It looks exactly as it did the first time I saw it, on a hot May afternoon just like this one and found on my own the flat the real estate agents claimed not to exist. Then, it was the silence of a stranger who might become a friend, now it's the quiet of a time that has passed.
But the air is light, not heavy, with emotion. My overwhelming thought is thank you. For existing in the teeth of their assurances that I would not get my "unrealistic" requirements within my budget. For the empty patch of land in front (one of the requirements) that has stayed empty for six years, in a city where even roundabouts are not safe from construction. For the birds that came to my balcony in the middle of built-up Burdubai. For a launching pad and a sanctuary from which to live what would turn out to be a most eventful slice of my life.
This is ridiculous. I feel as if I'm leaving an ancestral home. It's been made worse by the stream of formal goodbyes I have endured in the past two days, reminiscent of nothing so much as the leave-taking of old retainers. The maid, the laundry man (whose fortunes must have been made by my penchant for flimsy dry-clean-only clothes), the maintenance guys, the security guards, even the landlord's office. My full deposit was ready to hand over even before the barely cursory examination of my flat. The building supervisor insisted on arranging for the pick-up truck to take my last bit of luggage across town to my friend's house. Everything's gone now, the goodbyes are over, but I am reluctant to leave, to hand over these keys, to lock the door knowing I will not return. I hate the people who will live here after me, in my flat. I'm very glad they're paying an utterly extortionate price to do so.
Te raconter surtout / les Carambars d'antan / et les coco-boërs / et les vrais roudoudous / qui nous coupaient les lèvres / et nous niquaient les dents / et les Mistral gagnants
Mistral Gagnant, Renaud, Album of the same name, 1985
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