OK, Kim, if there was ever a good time to be chatting to a dead person, this is it. I’m doing the thing. It’s happening. I’m moving. I’ve told Morag I want the job and I’ve handed in my notice at work and emailed Gran. I haven’t told Hugh and Jamie and I don’t really know how to. I know this is really bad but I sort of think I might leave it until the last minute to tell them. I keep thinking maybe I won’t tell them at all. I’ll just go and leave them a note or something. I’d feel shit doing that but I know they’ll try and talk me out of going and I don’t want to leave on an argument.
It’s weird to think about leaving this flat though. I know it was my flat on my own first, after Gran went to Cornwall to live with Sexy Mike and sold the old place, but then it was our flat and it feels like you’re still here. Not literally here, not like an actual ghost or anything, but it’s like something of you is in the walls and the furniture and the air. I don’t know if it’s what happens when someone dies in a place or if it’s just what happens when they’ve lived there, but I do know leaving here feels kind of like leaving the last parts of you. I need to do it though. I think you’d understand. I think you’d tell me I’ve waited too long already and I need to go and live my life. Wouldn’t you?
Remember when you moved in? I’ll never forget the night when you showed up with all your stuff packed into about a thousand bags. You buzzed the door and said to come down, that you needed help. I freaked out cause I thought something had happened that you couldn’t walk up the stairs but then I went down and you and the taxi driver were ferrying all your stuff from the taxi to the door. He’d even stopped the meter so he was just helping you for free. Good people show up when you need them, right?
When we were done shifting all your stuff, you paid the driver and actually hugged him, crying all over again. I remember him saying, “It’ll be alright, wee lass. This one looks like a tough cookie. She’ll look after you.” He winked at me over the top of your head and I smiled back, still kind of in shock. It was weird cause I was happy you were here and it was obvious that you were going to be staying but I was gutted for you cause it meant the shit had hit the fan with your parents. And I was angry with them for doing this to you. I still am, kind of. You deserved better. Fuck them.
We lugged all your bags up the stairs, dumped them on the bed and did the only sensible thing we could think of doing—we made coffee and ordered pizza. I kept thinking about how I never even brought girls back to my flat before but here I was with you moving in. I never thought I’d have a real grown up relationship, but it didn’t feel that way with you. I don’t mean it didn’t feel real or grown up, but it didn’t feel claustrophobic. I didn’t suddenly have to become someone else because I had a girlfriend, because I was a girlfriend. People always talk about what it’s supposed to be like, how it’s meant to be when you’re with someone, how you’re meant to feel, and I always thought I didn’t want that. And I didn’t. But it was like I didn’t want it as an abstract concept defined by other people. When it came to you, to us, I wanted everything. And I had it, for a little while. We had it.
I don’t know if it was just cause you’d packed in a hurry, but you were shite at packing. Your bags were stuffed with all this random crap, uni books thrown in with underwear, cuddly toys in with bottles of shampoo. It was a mess. It took us until two in the morning to get everything out of your bags and into places in the flat. It was funny suddenly having twice as much stuff but it was good too. In the space of a few hours, it went from being my place to being our place. I know it didn’t happen the way we’d have chosen or the easiest way, but it was what it was and we were together.
It hit you then what it meant for your parents not to be paying for anything anymore and you freaked out cause you’d moved in to a rented flat with no money for rent, but it didn’t matter. I’d been paying for it on my own up until then and I was used to buying food on the cheap and never having enough money to put the heating on until the proper depths of winter. It wasn’t that bad though and it wasn’t unusual. Pretty much everyone I knew lived like that, at least most of the ones my age did. But a lot of the people you knew from uni were loaded so I guess it was a different world. You’d gone from that world into my world, our world.
It’s breaking my heart thinking about all this again. I don’t know why I do this to myself. It hurts like hell but it’s like I need to think about it in detail, on purpose, to make sure I never forget. It felt like the whole world belonged to us back then, like it was all just a big adventure and everything would turn out fine. Looking back, I guess you maybe weren’t as OK as you were letting on, but it was before things got really bad for you and I still remember those days as being perfect. I still remember you as being perfect. Because you were, you know? You really were.