A room nestled in the ‘Party House’ of QMUL that I fell in love with the moment I saw it.
An enormous desk that would soon be covered with coursework, dirty plates and an almost certainly unhealthy amount of empty cider bottles.
A single window stretching the entire length of the room through which I saw the ever changing skies of London, the fleeting appearances of fireworks and the first snows of winter.
A tiny bed where I kissed my girlfriend for the first time, where we laughed and ate pizza while the wind howled outside and where, during a rather impromptu party, a choir formed, performed and disbanded in a matter of hours. Still getting over the fact I’m not even making that last one up.
Life is full of big steps; benchmarks that every person seeks to reach. This flat was where I ticked off the box marked “living alone”. Where I started my University career, my relationship and my facial hair that, even after 7 months, can scarcely be called a beard and today, after 266 days of ownership, I say goodbye.
It wasn’t all good, life is never quite that perfect. The little things like having a wet room that flooded if you showered for too long, the dodgy lift that would break, giving me a surprise jog up 5 flights of stairs, and of course being privy to the cries of drunken flatmates through the all to thin walls. And the bigger things like playing prison to my Girlfriend for an entire week while she lay shivering and feverish and hosting our first big fight which almost ended our relationship.
But all these memories, the hysterical and the heart-breaking, make this cramped, slightly faulty and apparently ordinary flat something I couldn’t have predicted. When I think of my flat, I think of home.
So, to the next occupants of 43A, a couple of things. Firstly hold onto your keys tightly – the gap between the the lift and the floor just next to it happens to widen when you drop your keys near it. The realisation of this mistake hits you precisely as the keys hit the ground. Not an experience you’d want out of Uni.
Secondly, it’s well worth getting up early for the sunrise. The view of the sun glinting off Canary Wharf out of the kitchen is well worth it. But then get the hell to bed because your gonna be overloaded with fitting in societies, coursework, lectures and a social life – no sleep means no function. Being able to nap is a privilege you should take full advantage of.
Finally, and this is an important one, be sure to lift up the mattress and sign your name on the bed. We of 43A have a list going and I’ll be damned if you’re not gonna be on it. Because this flat is and always will be my first. It’s special and it’s home. I am handing it to you in good faith, in hope that you’ll use it to its fullest. After all, your stay there will be a first for you too. Make it count.
It is now I bid adieu to you 43A, you’ve been, all things considered, a great host. I trust you’ll be the same to whoever gets your key next and who knows, maybe I’ll return to your embrace.
Your ever-loving occupant