Yeah. That’s what I felt like today. I spent the entire weekend cleaning the house. I even did the windows. I spent three hours weeding and pruning the garden. Tomorrow there is a rental inspection here. The owner and the agent will come over and make sure I haven’t painted any of the walls black. That the plants I have in the herb garden are tomatoes and not marijuana. That I haven’t set up a methamphetamine lab in the laundry. That I haven’t ripped out the cast iron Victorian fireplaces and replaced them with cheap wooden surrounds.
I know people to whom those things have happened. Rich friends of mine who have investment properties.
The truth is, I am a very good tenant. The house is clean. I pay my rent on time. I am quiet and well-behaved. My landlord doesn’t ever want me to move out.
It is a dirty word at my age.
I think of my mother and how she disapproves of my non-home-owning state and wonder if she has a point.
You become attached to a house after living in it for nearly four years. Even if it doesn’t have some of the things you want.
A rental inspection is a reminder that any time, any tick of the clock, you could be told to move out.
And that herb garden you planted, the goldfish you buried under the bougainvillea, the familiar clunk of the front door as you close it after a hard day are all gone.
It’s hard for me, the transience that comes with not properly being able to establish a sense of place. I long for it.
I became upset this afternoon as I was cleaning. Thinking about things. Wondering if I would still be able to look at the jacaranda tree swaying in the sunlight in a year’s time.
I had to go and lie down afterwards.
I had to think about the things I love that make me realise home isn’t just bricks and mortar, it’s all about the things that make your heart soar, that reinforce your sense of self.
Like statues in parks, forthright and inspiring.
And cockatoos, jolly and proud of themselves because they have a cracker.
And my beloved Centrepoint Tower. Always there.
And the cutest little swallow gazing down at me.
And the Aussie gum trees. Such an essential feature of the landscape. No matter where I am they make me feel I am home.
It doesn’t matter if my house is not my own. At least I have a roof over my head.
And the opportunity every day to breathe in the beauty of my surroundings.