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Method Of Loci

17 February 201906:06PMlife

You know that thing where you use a familiar place to help you remember things? Moving house is like that in reverse. You don't realise how much of your memory is tied up in a place until you have to pull it apart.

And when you lose access to the place, what happens to the memories it encodes?

I don't know. I've never had my own place before, and I've never left one. This was the first, and this is what it was like to be there.

There's this faint musty smell, a bit like the inside of a vacuum cleaner. You stop noticing it after a while, but when you walk through the door after a long-haul flight, it smells like home.

There's the sound of hollow creaks and empty footsetps on a deck you and your housemate built in an evening so you'd stop sliding towards those huge, dangerous windows.

and a flyscreen you built yourself too.

There's water you mysteriously never had to pay for. A hot water heater that runs instantly and forever. Showers that last longer than they should, and power bills that cost more than they should too.

It's cramped and stuffy if you have more than about six people in the room, but you try about once a year anyway and you're still not quite sure what to do when they get here - or how to make them leave.

clouds at sunset

There are sunsets over pine trees and palm trees and tiled rooftops, punctuated by the flash of the red light camera up the street. You once got asked "Do you ever just stand here and... look?" You joked about it later, but the truth is, you do.

There's the itch on your stomach and chest as you crawl under your bed to find something you ill-advisedly stored there. Probably the fan, because it's getting towards summer and until you can open the windows and let the sea breeze clean the place out it traps heat like you wouldn't believe.

detritus

A string of fairy lights runs back and forth along an enclosed balcony which started out empty and has slowly filled with the detritus of pastimes and past times.

Laminex "floorboards" which aren't real wood, but they're better than the awful carpet and they were close enough to make it feel like home. There's a box of spares in the laundry that came with the place, and you never really figured out what to do with them.

it was nice when it was wintry too.

You remember how things used to be. Posters became frames, astroturf became a deck, the verge-salvaged chair and stool became a proper classy corner just in time for you to leave. It was never finished, and it's already time to disassemble it.

You wonder how it will look in the future, nothing left of this time but scuff marks.

a sunset so red it looks like the end of the world

Birds. Cars. Trains. Wind. And if you listen hard, the sound of the ocean.

A box of light and warmth against a dark sky.

This is what it was like to be here.

a box of light and colour in the darkness

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