It’s moving day today.
The transfer had completed on Mike’s new flat in Fourways, and he was officially a homeowner. Well, together with the bank, really. After months of saving up for the deposit, and years of nagging from his parents to “grow up and be responsible”, he put in an offer on an apartment in the heart of Johannesburg’s premier destination for overly-indebted supposed up-and-comings like himself.
It’s a Saturday morning, and the sleep is starting to tire itself from the hold it has on his face. All around him, in his 1 bedroomed flat in Midrand, boxes which once contained perishable fast moving consumer goods sold at the Pick ‘n Pay nearby, now hold the fast-moving consumer goods he can call his own. The 4 books he bought when he was supposed to start reading. The dumbbells from when he was supposed to start exercising. The fashionable uniform from yesteryear’s freedom and the corporate uniform from today. Pots stained clean from meals he never cooked and cheap plates stained with the memories of the regular takeout. His whole life fitting in 6 or 7 boxes.
On the kitchen counter, the phone vibrates. It’s the security at the gate. “Hello Mr. Kamau, you have a visitor, Ben, at the gate”. “Please let him in”. Ben, an acquaintance he frequently sees at Tiger’s Milk, offered to help him transport his goods to the new place.
“Is this your whole life here?” asked Ben.
“This is all of me right here”, said Mike. “One trip is all we’ll need”.
They start carrying the larger items first, the bed, 2-seater couch and small TV stand. Followed by the boxes. Closing the door on what has been good enough for the past 2 years to the life a “grown-up” in his position is expected to be living.
“So why Fourways?”, Ben asked on the N1 South towards the new place.
“I’m there all the time, might as well make it home” replied Mike.
“Big commitment this is, buying a flat”
“Ya, I guess it’s time to do what everyone calls ‘responsible’” shrugs Mike. “We’re not getting any younger, they say”.
Just off William Nicol drive, they drive towards the gate of the new apartment block. Small weeds decorate the crevices of the paving they drive on. Full carports and curtained windows sing lonely songs of welcoming into this supposed promised land.
They park in front of the stairs leading to the 1st floor unit he now calls home. “Let’s first go open up, and then we’ll bring the boxes up” suggests Ben. After fidgeting with the lock and key, they finally get the door opened. “Hey, so this is you!?” exclaims Ben. “This is now me right here” retorts Mike.
They start with carrying the bed up the stairs, into the bedroom. “Let’s put it along that wall” said Mike. “I can see the marks of the headboard of the previous owner. If these walls could talk, I wonder what stories they’d tell” jokes Ben. “I just hope they don’t whisper those stories to me in my sleep” laughs Mike. “I have my own stories to deal with”. “I guess it’s the price of living within walls lived by someone else” quips Ben.
After a few more trips up and down the stairs, the pieces of Mike’s life have found temporary respite within the new space, still symbolically tense until they find their resting place. “So, you plan to do any renovations here? Make it more of your own?” asked Ben. “It will do for now I guess. And plus, I have no more money left after the transfer and bond costs” sigh’s Mike. “Makes sense my man. Just be quick. These Fourways walls have some ability to renovate you before you renovate them”, laughs Ben.