Once, I passed by my hometown and stared at the rented apartment that used to be my family’s. A door, two windows out front and rusty gates. Not much has changed except for the empty garage, empty balcony, and the landlord and strangers leaving the house with smiles on their faces.
What used to be my home is now inhabited by these people. In fact, maybe this was the second or third tenant since we left. That thought, that strangers are living in the place I loved, is heavy every time I stared at the house.
We all know that change is inevitable. If we think about it, our lives are revolving around the idea of rented things, rented places. Everything is non-permanent unless you make it to be, and you keep paying the rent, to retain permanence. If you don’t, you get an eviction notice. And even if you don’t want to, you have to go.
Staying in school is an example. Going to school everyday is your penance, but you know it’s bound to end eventually. But this is something more permanent since you know when you’ll be leaving. A sublet, if you will. Work also demands your attendance. But failure to upkeep with work, or finding someone more capable than you results in another eviction notice on your part, forcing you to find another place to work. This was more of my dilemma.
I guess it’s the same for the people around you. You get to be in people’s lives and hearts, as well. But overtime, some may also send you notices, that you need to leave, because new people, activities, careers have taken over their time and attention.
Being in a transition phase of graduating, I’m getting a lot of eviction notices. From my university, (‘you’re graduating, wow! you won’t be here by July anymore!’). From my dormitory, (‘so where will you be living after you graduate?’) and more, so much more from my life that is happening right now.
Some, more indefinite, suspended in the air as if waiting for me to sign the waiver that I accept being evicted. And you just stare at this piece of paper on your desk, then wallow in sorrow as you curl up in your bedroom and thing about what to do next. None said, but I feel heaviness and anxiety nonetheless.
They force you to look into an inevitable future that you have to one day let go of something that you held so dearly. A new face will be coming home to it every single day, a person you don’t really know about, and possibly don’t want to. Maybe they’re better tenants, paying rent on time and keeping their backyard cleaner than you do. Maybe they don’t blast music into the night or say their hellos and good mornings to the other tenants. Musings turn over your head, and you don’t really want to know.
Knowing that the brown living room set might become white in the future, and the vase of your favorite flowers will be replaced by new ones, most likely of the new owner’s favorites. That part of the wall where you bumped your head and scratched will be painted anew, and the door, for which you had the key to for years, will have it’s lock changed, as if telling you that you don’t really have a place here anymore, after you decide to leave. New memories will be made, with yours a thing of the past.
It’s funny, how it is with rented houses. You always know it wasn’t yours even though you’re living in it.
No titles, no deeds. You can’t say you own it. You know of the possibility that others will be taking care of it, making it their own home. You can’t blame them for living there, but you can’t help but take ownership because you were there. Even if it means looking out from the street, staring through the front yard and watching as the landlord shows new possible tenants of their future home.