The temerity of suggesting that my partner and I will be together here in this house long enough to watch the linen of our tablecloth soften is, quite frankly, too much for me to bearby Eli Goldstone / February 20, 2020 / Leave a comment
I am bombarded by advertisements for miracle cleaning products, bespoke kitchens and reclaimed Spanish tiles. The algorithms have conspired to show me a very confusing version of myself. I keep pressing my finger to the screen. Why don’t you want to see this ad? I try to remember what sort of ad I was served before. Dating services, obviously, and disposable razors. Those sort of fripperies aren’t shown to me now. Why don’t you want to see this ad? I brought this upon myself. I’ve searched for Berber rugs on eBay. I’ve asked my friends to recommend seed catalogues. I’ve replaced the nudes I used to post on Instagram with glamour shots of cut tulips, iced cakes and semi-peeled fruits. Why don’t you want to see this ad? I don’t know exactly. Maybe for the same reason that I don’t want to see photographs other people have taken of me: I don’t recognise this version of myself.
My friends and I would imagine the types of houses that we would throw future elaborate dinner parties in, fantasise about orangeries, ice tongs and farmhouse tables—things that we knew existed because we read books about people with money who had affairs. In the meantime, we hung out in claustrophobic London flats, ate at other people’s discarded dining tables. For fifteen years I moved every twelve months or so, shedding my belongings a little each time. There were things that were indicative of my bourgeois desires, wrapped in newspaper in the boxes that I packed and unpacked. Champagne coupes, for instance. A Sabatier knife. A down-stuffed pillow. I had these things around me like charms while I jumped from moment to moment, struggled to pay my bills, lived recklessly. They were a dowry I was keeping for myself, little convictions towards a different sort of life. But the longer it went on the less convinced I was that this life was waiting for me.
Just before Christmas, I left behind what felt like the inevitability of renting, and for the first time in my life aged thirty-three, I am able to physically lay claim to my domestic space. The house is old and has been neglected. The wiring is faulty and the garden is overgrown. I…