Archives for category: The day I..

My body was aching all over, but the worst about it was the feeling of complete exhaustion. The weakness. And the apathy.


I noticed it at work first. My wrists were stiff and hard to move, and every little tip and tap on the keyboard slowly became agony. My mind was foggy like I hadn’t slept for days. Like the moment when you are torn out of sleep by a fire alarm, brutally being forced to come to sense with reality, when your body is stuck in the first gear. But you are awake, and the days pass like strange dreams, but in this one you are forced to go through spreadsheets. One after the other, packed with last year’s stats and results. The fog was catching up with me.

Walking home, I could sense my weakness in every move, in my arms and legs. Lifting one leg up, I would place it in front of me, feeling my foot touch the ground. Heel to toe. It felt like my muscles had withered away, and my bones had become brittle and thin, just waiting to snap. I paid attention to my balance, my step, making sure that my leg was strong enough to carry my own weight before I attempted to lift the other one. Left, right, left, right. “Just 10 more minutes and you’ll be home. You can go to the supermarket when you feel better, today you don’t have to. Maybe get some takeaway. Indian perhaps?”. I was comforting myself. Or motivating? I don’t know really. I didn’t feel very motivated nor comforted, but I just wanted my bed, and my wonderfully soft duvet. A teleporter wouldn’t be so bad either.

My legs would amazingly enough carry my 125 lbs. up the stairs, all 86 steps. No takeaway weight included.

Actually, I was lying earlier. Mistaken. I didn’t notice it at work first. It was at home that the apathy settled and became part of my daily life. I didn’t want my bed because I was tired, but I needed to lie down. To sit, to consume, to not think. Thinking and learning were passions and my mind was like a sponge around knowledge. Now I couldn’t do it anymore. I embraced the fact that sometimes the best thing you can do is simply nothing, and I was getting good at it. But my 20 minutes of nothing turned into 40, then an hour, until my evenings were filled with foggy nothingness.

I did feel guilty about not doing anything. The kind of guilt that hides in your stomach as anxiety, gnawing on your insides, making you feel nauseous. Like the feeling before an oral exam. But my guilt was not strong enough to release me from my weakness or clear the fog. The kitchen was a mess. Stacks (well it’s generous to call them stacks, the constructive foundation of these stacks were clearly ones of the stereotype architect) of dirty plates and pots were filling the sink, and the stove had had to step up as the new kitchen work counter lately. The little stove that could. My washed clothes were hanging on the drying rack on the 3rd week now. A letter from the insurance company reminding me to send them a profile photo had been lying on the table for almost a month. Next to my laptop so I’d remember. Sure, I’ll do it tomorrow when I feel better. But I never did.

Luckily I didn’t have any new year’s resolutions. Only the general “start a new and better life” idea, with my minimalist approach to go through all my belongings, all my digital clutter, not to mention the emotional mess. The problem was that I didn’t have a plan. No passion. No motivation.

So I decided to stay at home and do nothing. The planned kind of nothing, based on my wish instead of my apathy. The doctor agreed. Sometimes doing nothing is just what you need. Sometimes doing nothing gives you more than any activity can. The good nothingness. Not the boring kind, not the exiting kind, and it’s definitely not bliss. But just right anyway.

Well, it technically it didn’t break down. But the power supply did. It started squeeking like a mouse and refused to charge my laptop.
“Nooooooooooooo”, was pretty much my initial thought. My laptop has been dead ever since.

So here I am. Waiting for my newly ordered adapter. I pretty much hate using my phone to order things, check my bank etc., and this week there seemed to be  a lot of it. Sigh. On the bright side, I have spent far less time on social media and mindless browsing around online.

My computer free evenings have forced me to do something else, so I try to organise things around the house. Or should I say room.

Remember the story of how I lost half of my belongings? Well, the other half is more than enough for 30-something sq.metres. Half of it is still in boxes and piles in the middle of my living room.

So here’s my first little project:



My coffee table. It came in a horrible lime green. It was rusty and dirty. When I saved it from the street (yes, the STREET. We do that where I live), I was confident that I could bring it back to life. You know, one of those renovation projects you never actually do, but just store for years.

The rust was superficial and I’ve been sanding and painting the boards white. White and shiny. Happy white (yes, I do love white).

I’m quite happy about the outcome so far. So happy that I wish I had a good “before” picture to show you. It turns out that a dead computer isn’t as bad as first feared. It’s not the end if the world. It has forced me to get up and do those things far down on my to-do-list. And I quite like doing them too.

“What about the blue crates?”, I asked him.

“Crates? Which crates? There’s nothing left up here. Did you get everything from the basement?”

Blue crates

CC focalpointx (flickr)

I felt my stomach starting to tie up in knots. This was not good, not good at all. I didn’t want to admit it, but I immediately knew that my things were lost forever; my record collection, my good speakers, my cute little vintage bags. Irreplacable. Gone.

My ex looked down at me from the attic, signalising that he was coming down. He balanced on the chair’s back rest with one foot, placed the other one down on the seat, leaving a dirty footstep on the black leather. Well down, he brushed off the dirt, but his eyes caught my puzzled little face. In my head, I was already calculating the damage. At the moment I wasn’t sure if it my mistake of leaving my belongings there would cost me more in euros or in mental anguish.

“I really don’t know what you mean. If they’re not in the basement, then I don’t know where they are.”

“Are you sure? They were milk crates, blue ones. About this big”, I said and drew the shape of the crates in the air with my hands. “There were at least ten of them, if not fifteen.”

His eyes said “no”, and I knew that I couldn’t ask him again. I knew him well enough to know that our talk was over. I could sense him getting annoyed for me asking, as fifteen identical crates full of things simply can’t be misplaced or forgotten in a flat. Especially not one this size.

I was here to finally pick up my belongings. After the breakup, my things in the flat had slowly found their way to the flat’s basement, the attic and nooks around his shop next door’s. My biggest worry was that nothing in the basement had been packed to be stored like that, so I was fully prepared for that some things would just have to be thrown out directly. I was less prepared for finding out that half of my things were missing. Presumably stolen from the basement.

I looked at my phone. The van would be here in fifteen minutes, and my friends too. He gave me the keys and suggested that I’d do one more round to double check if I wanted to.

“If I’m in the bath when you leave, just chuck them through the mail slot.” He gave me a big, long hug, his woollen jumper brushing against me cheek. It was newly washed and the smell of detergent mixed with the homely smell of him that I knew so well. “I feel really sick, so I need to get some rest. Let’s not let this be the last time we see each other, ok?”

“Ok”, I said looking down, tears in my eyes.

He left trough the shop door and I held my breath and waited. When I heard the door slam next door, I finally let myself breath. “Stupid, stupid, stupid!”, I thought to myself. “Why on earth would I let my things be here for so long?” I took a deep breath and decided to do one more desperate stroll around the place. Attic, nope. Storage, nothing. Creepy basement, no, nada. The rest of my stuff was lined up in front of both entrance doors. Chairs, table, a few crates and bags. That was it.

It was long overdue to collect what was mine, to let his space be his again. We needed closure on several levels. I looked at my phone again. Five to seven. I went outside to check for the van, and as I opened the door, I was met by my friend’s sweet smile in the dark and cold street. There was snow and sadness in the air.

“Are you ready?”, she asked, rubbing her hands together as she was eager to start.

Her happy face made me grin from ear to ear as well.  “Yes. You’ll be pleased to hear that I have fewer things than I remembered, so I’m more than ready. Let’s get this over with.”