I wrote this a long time ago, and never posted it. It fits with a few themes I'm exploring right now, so worth revisiting.
It's well over a year ago now [sic], but the effects of 2010's flatmate hunt were far-reaching enough for me to still want to write about it. My outgoing flatmate, Jen, was gracious and considerate - she was moving purely for reasons of convenience, and gave me ample warning. I found an agreeable replacement, an Irish lad who'd been in the country a couple of months. He moved in on the saturday of Labour weekend, with a backpack. The weekend was busy and I was planning to find time for a proper welcome, when monday afternoon he emerged from his room, announced he'd changed his mind, and left. We could see him out the window, waiting at the corner for a friend to pick him up. No explanation was offered other than "it's not you - I just feel like I need some space to myself", like a bad breakup. He thought he was being perfectly generous offering to pay a week's rent, obviously with little understanding that the two-week deposit not yet received was supposed to cover the time I'd need to find a replacement; not just his actual tenure. Yes, I'm still pretty sore with respect to financial matters.
That same afternoon I re-advertised and immediately interviewed an ideal match; however she took another flat 5 minutes walk from her work. Thursday I got an email that sounded AWESOME (someone I google-stalked with far greater success than any other candidates), but got no response from my two follow-up emails on friday and saturday. Over the next few days I interviewed and invited two more candidates, neither of whom accepted. By this time the impact of the two-day flatmate's ostensible rejection was well embedded in my psyche. I continually second-guessed my email responses to mr awesome, wondering how on earth I'd managed to put him off within the course of two paltry emails. One candidate who turned me down said she'd been spoiled by spacious houses with backyards, at which point the walls of my formerly-comfortable apartment began to close in on me.
It was a rough time. Jen had alerted me of her upcoming departure mid-September, and by then it was early November. I was paying double rent, and noone wanted to move in. The thursday before Guy Fawkes, I got a text message, unsigned, saying they'd contacted me a few days ago, gone away for the weekend, and lost my number, but they'd still like to see the flat, if it was available. One must admit such actions don't scream out reliable flatmate material, but most likely guess was it could only be mr awesome, so I was willing to overlook. Friday he came around, we discussed our substantial common interests, I enthusiastically offered him the room, he enthusiastically accepted.
One might imagine that would be the end of the story, but it's merely exposition; the first chapter. The two-day flatmate still haunted me, and it was actually a problem (in my head at least) that I *really liked* my new flatmate. For a couple of months I lived in perpetual fear he'd perform a similar about-face. I was heartened by the sheer amount of stuff he had when he moved in, grateful that moving out would be a major undertaking. I was perversely thrilled when he got sick, discovering an excuse to be the helpful/dependable flatmate, whilst also fearing I was being too overbearing.
Mid-december I told him about losing my mother at the end of the previous year, and the following day he came home unexpectedly and told me he was heading north, having received a phone call stating his own mother had died from a stroke. That news utterly shredded me, both for his sake and for the jarring re-emergence of the pain of my own loss.
Then after we'd both returned from our respective Christmas holidays, he vanished, reappearing about three times a week for half an hour, with no explanation, then heading straight back to his girlfriend's place, where he stayed every night, leaving me feeling abandoned in an empty house, and of course evoking new fears he'd soon be moving out. Of course he was dealing with his bereavement and a host of other challenges, but all that was invisible to me, due to his absence.
By mid February I'd adjusted expectations with respect to our living arrangements and was able to tailor my new environment to my benefit. However, the decision finally came in mid June, when I was in Wellington - my flatmate and his girlfriend were moving overseas. My boyfriend had the ridiculous good sense to forewarn me, and to offer to be present for moral support once I'd returned home to get the news first hand. Ironically my flatmate waited for him to leave before emerging from his room to give me the details. I cried.
It must be noted I'm compressing the issues that I see as relevant to this entry. My state of mind was affected by other unrelated issues (no doubt they'll be unpacked in other entries), and generally there was plenty of good to go with the bad. As it was, when we did spend time together, the tone was relaxed and convivial. Mainly I wish to highlight that 1) I latched onto my new flatmate as a Person Of Signifiance very rapidly, and 2) that significance was bolstered by some quite extreme reactions to a host of incidents; each reaction feeding off the last, all densely packed into a period of about three months before I adjusted, more or less. Ultimately my historical fear of rejection - a fear I thought I'd long laid to rest - played a major part.
Here's the conclusion, with regard to affection. Every now and then you may meet a Person Of Significance - someone for whom you hold affection - or, someone by whom you are affected. I suspect potential candidates appear quite regularly, but the resulting relationships take on a range of flavours and intensities - some may never eventuate at all. Others that have registered as Significant to me over the last 12 months, but as of the time of writing those relationships have either not been as affective, or are not yet fully formed. Character and compatibility are obviously essential for a good friendship (much later on my flatmate and I discussed how we "just clicked"), but here's the thing - often it's not so much the person, but the circumstances under which you meet that prompt that affection, more than anything else. That's not to suggest that affection is empty or contingent (of course it's not!) - just that sometimes you get lucky, if a string of events such as this can be framed as luck.