The #5 Waldo House Series – Episode#2 : The Particles

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We lived at #5 Waldo House for 26 months. That’s 793 nights, because 2012 was a leap year.

#5 Waldo House was the cement between us. We had a very domestic relationship, maybe because the outside world was kinda hostile. Our families were not exactly supportive, so we were like two little birdies in their nest. We never managed to be a “social” couple, to build bridges with the external world like any sensible adults do after some time.

We lived on our own island. London NW10.

So much importance we granted to this flat. We were in fusion with each other and our fusion was in fusion with our home. So yeah, that was a lot of fusion.

After a while, we were speaking our own language, the “Freeklish” (for French/Greek/English), with our own vocabulary, idioms and declinations. People not familiar with us would miss out when we were talking to each other.

We loved our daily life. It has never been boring, or routinely, or mechanical. Not one day. We did everything in excess, laughing, fighting, fucking and being dumb.

When we decided to dynamite our couple, we carried on our day to day habits in the exact same manner, and even more intensely, knowing that the countdown had started.

Till the last days, we were like: “We love living together so much!” So fucking stupid. Such a fucking disaster.

Anyway, it had to be done.

It all happened quickly at the end. I could barely realise what it really meant. Packing boxes. Splitting the things we got together. Nothing too original I presume. You’ll tell me that everyone has been or will be there at some point. And it is true. I am not putting my drama above anyone else’s.

On the day, the 21 September 2013, I didn’t even have a moment to say good bye to the house. I was already carried away in the uncertainty of the next chapter.

Weird thing is, at that precise moment, I was barely sad. I was focusing on the field of anticipated excitement ahead.

We wanted to leave something from our months of happiness between those walls, so we threw at the top of the boiler the cap of the bottle of champagne that we drank for our 2 years together. It has an inscription on it: ” ∆ + Σ – 26/02/2012″.

Maybe it is still there?

I wonder what is left of us at #5 Waldo House. The walls must be absorbing the arguments and laughter of another couple, and so goes life.

I can’t help thinking sometimes – not too often – about all the particles of us left in the atmosphere, in the walls, in the ugly beige curtains that kept falling off, in the carpet. They have all witnessed so much love and drama.

Do you think that some physical particles may really still remain?

Particles of the bad words, the awful moments, and of the I-love-yous in every languages we knew, particles of all the orgasms we exchanged.

During the 4 weeks that we failed to become friends, months later, we went to see #5 Waldo House again one evening. Just to kill our ghosts together. We were curious to catch the sight of who was occupying our kingdom now. We hanged out outside the building for a little while, tried to stare through the window.

The lampshade had changed. That was a good thing. That’s the only clue we ever got.

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The #5 Waldo House Series – Episode#4 : The Island

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We were living on the island of #5 Waldo House within the island of London NW10 within the island of the UK. We were snuggling at the heart of Russian Doll islands.

Most of the time, we didn’t need to go anywhere or see anyone. We were doing small yet big things in our Queendom.

Out of the blue, one of us suddenly had an itch for the external world and we were doing what we used to call “going on an adventure”. Which meant, exploring the neighbourhood hunting for details that we had never noticed before.

We ended up walking the same patterns over and over again, but it was a forever renewed joy. There was a certain street that we used to call “New York” because it was broad and full of brick warehouses. It was one of our favourite destinations, for want of the real Big Apple which we never made together.

Sometimes we would get lost in a new bit of our playground and make an extraordinary discovery: an arty cinema, a pond with stagnant waters, an empty building, a park as wild as a forest.

She was taking tons of pictures with her sense of detail and her obsession for industrial and padlocks. She would always spot the thing no one would ever see with her digital eye. I liked that ability in her. I was making the stories.

It is during these short urban adventures that we felt the most in tune. We would forget all the uncertainties and question marks of our story to focus on the common rhythm of our heartbeats. As we were observing our surroundings, embracing our so familiar environment, we had the similar goal that we were desperately lacking the rest of the time.

We finally were in the same space-time.

On the way back home we would play dumb or I would teach her dance steps which she was clumsily copying and we would laugh our head off.

There was no adventure, exploration or common rhythm of our heartbeats outside our island, though. Any attempt I did to make us swim away from it and reach the mainland turned into traumatising fights.

I therefore had to leave to the mainland alone.

The #5 Waldo House Series – Episode#5 : The Centimetres

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We were home one night. Or one day.

She was on our bed, setting up to skype with her parents. She was always skyping with her parents and I never was. This is how we were respectively brought up. I respect both schemes.

She was always briefing me before her parental interactions, even after 3 years together, when the rules were so ingrained in me that I wouldn’t even have the distance to judge them right or wrong. This is how things were. She always had to mention: “I am calling my parents. Don’t speak.” Just in case I would all of a sudden decide to squeeze next to her and wave at the webcam to introduce myself: “What’s up in-laws! Nice to meet you! I am the one screwing your daughter!” 

I regret not doing it. I would have freed them all from a huge weight, and at least I would have given them a good reason to hate me, cause for all I know they had none. It would have been a cult coming out scene. I can be such a docile girl when it comes to affection.

In these recurrent occasions, I was like an elephant in my own house, because they subconsciously knew about me. Of course they knew. It takes tremendous organisation and concentration (and hypocrisy) from all parties to ignore something that big over so many years. They had an implicit agreement not to look at the elephant too closely to keep their wonderful family unity. If someone had to be beheaded for the unity to keep up, it had to be me.

The voice of her parents grew familiar to me as years went by. I was hearing it all the time. But I only ever saw their face in picture. I could catch fragments of their hellenic conversations. I could tell when they were talking about me, all declined in the masculine version. Her mum was nicknaming me “Parlez-vous”, most likely because she knew it was fucking nonsense to refer to me with my made-up male name.

This whole theatre piece was sickening. Over the years, not only was I exponentially suffering from my nothingness status, but I gradually lost respect for her. I even ended up despising her intellectually.

I have never met any other couple – gay or not – in a similar situation. I don’t know any closeted gays who live with their partner. It just can’t work out between 2 people who are at different stages or their coming out process. It is mathematical.

That particular day, she was getting ready for the family performance. She checked the background behind her to make sure there was no queerish hint. She stopped, looked at the poster of the sublime blonde woman on the wall. I had brought it back to her from my solitary Icelandic journey. It was the poster of an exhibition that I had seen at the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, a series of portraits of contemporary Icelandic women taken by Berglind Björnsdóttir.

She must have judged the sublime blonde too tendencious. She moved the poster up on the wall – literally 3 centimetres up. I was observing her in silence, fascinated in a bad way. I was trying to be in her head at that precise moment. What were her criteria to evaluate what was suspicious or not? How had she developed so many strategies in 15 years of her gay life to know what could betray her secret? Did she really believe that the 3 centimetres up or down the wall had the power to change the course of her life?

This is where my lost love was spending her plan making energy. Evaluating the centimetres to organise her cover and mine. Whilst she was measuring and micro-managing the practical details of her double life, how could she ever have time to think of happier questions such as:  What do I really want to achieve? Do I love my life? What is meaningful to me? Do I want to be with her, or do I want to be like her? If we ever decide to have the family we’ve been talking about, how are we going to proceed? Stuff like that. The regular legitimate late 20s stuff. Not moving a fucking poster an inch up the wall cause there’s a woman on it.

This entire chapter of my life was so fucked up. I am grateful that I stepped out of it with no serious damage but a bruised soul and a devastated heart. I really would have had reasons to hit my head against the wall.

I will never grant to anyone the power to make me sink.

Picture by Berglind Björnsdóttir