I dropped the bags onto the floor, then myself on the bed. It had been a long month. I was finally in my new home, with plans never to move again. The place I’d chosen was perfect – secluded, safe, private. The house came with a security system, which I didn’t need, but somehow reassured me. There was a gatehouse at the perimeters of the grounds, which was handy for deliveries of groceries and other suppliers. Best of all, the property was remote, which lessened the likelihood of well-wishers coming to call.
It had taken me a long time to find a place like this. I’d had to make sacrifices before. I grimaced at the memory of the flat I’d shared with some students, in modern Berlin. They had all assured me that they were Goths, ate no meat and were mostly at class during the day – the truth was that they were good at makeup, left garlic (which I loathe) strewn all over the kitchen and mostly skipped class during the day to hang out in the flat to drink and carouse.
I had taken the house share because I’d thought, misguidedly, that if I spent some time with others, I could learn to adapt, to be accepted, to actually make friends with others. How Letitia laughed at my childish notions!
“Don’t be silly! Why would you want to? Uninteresting, dull creatures. You should stay here, Adriana, where everybody knows you and people understand you.”
Here was a little country village somewhere in East Europe which I longed to escape. I stayed for awhile, battling the travel bug, the urge for sudden flight, the compulsion to uproot and start over, somewhere no one knew me or understood me. I left as soon as the missionaries moved in.
Letitia, though, had stayed. She had inherited her father’s estates recently (Old age, peaceful passing. “It happens,” she says, though I suspect foul play) and set up shop in a nearby town called Bod, in Brasov.
“The solitude, Adriana! No one barging in at all times during the day, no questions asked!”
She flapped her perfectly manicured hands at me as she reached for a drink. “I installed all sorts of improvements – daddy had great taste but he didn’t understand modern amenities. You should come visit.”
But not all of us have estates to inherit. I had had to bide my time and accumulate wealth slowly, flitting from one place to the next, always looking to upgrade, for the next improvement. It’s hard to be young and financially impoverished. I went everywhere – Alexandria, Teotihuacan, Thessalonika, Babylon and more recently – Rhodesia, Constantinople, St Petersburg – looking for answers, peace, something undefinable.
I kept moving, starting over at one place after another. In the beginning, the love affair with a fresh place would be beautiful, but inevitably something would sour – people would start whispering, rumours would circulate. Before long I always found myself upping sticks and moving . After Berlin, I gave sharing my living quarters one last try, when I was travelling through New York.
It worked, after a fashion. For awhile at least. I felt subsumed into the city, which welcomed all – the straight, the gay, the weirdos, the unadjusted, the actors, the psychos, the freaks. We all had a place in New York City, but mostly we were given the privilege of being ignored, which for me, was the best part of all.
I worked night shifts, which gave me an excuse to stay in bed all day. On weekends I would try for extra work, and when that failed I would plead illness from all night ravers – which I frequented, and often. Alcohol didn’t affect me that much, but I liked the anonymity, the darkness, the heat arising from the bodies pressed together.
Of course, crime rates in New York were high, but that’s to be expected. It made me blase about murder, for the first time. I’d always felt some sort of shared guilt or blame, but in New York, what’s another body floating in the Hudson? In the 70s, New York was the ultimate city to hide in, while I scratched out a spot for myself in the world.
Those days were over though. I had finally found the perfect perch and I had no intention of leaving, come hell or high water. This was the final beginning, a new start to the rest of my life in one place.
It was almost sunrise by the time I’d gotten everything sorted and in its place. The walls were still bare, but it already felt like a forever home.
No more travel, I thought to myself as I slid the lid open and fluffed up the dirt. I was tired of starting over. This was home now, and I would never have to move my books, spells, cauldrons or coffin anywhere, ever again.
I would call Letitia, tomorrow night, I decided. She could come over and visit me now; she’d always declined before on the basis that I’d not found any place she deemed worthy of her presence. Now though, she could come and marvel at where I lived. There was a certain satisfaction in the thought. I had literally spent centuries waiting for this.
Outside, the dawn was flowing over the mountains. Sleep came easily to me, on my first day in my new home.
This post was inspired by The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s brief was to “write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over. ” I’ve tried to mingle a little bit of travel and horror into this post, along with the little twist at the end. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Any comments or criticisms welcome!