It was just what happened. No washing machine. No overhead lights. And it’s either that the carpet’s too thick or the door’s too low because no one’s bedroom door will close without backbreaking effort. After seeing houses in suspicious craters, houses with burnt walls, houses with cat piss curtains, this place is heaven. I put my arms around my potential housemates—and this is something I never do—because I want to tell them that we have to take this place. My embrace is just four fingers on each housemate’s shoulder, and my enthusiasm is just as tentative. We have no idea what a good house looks like. We are from the country.
We have been to Brisbane for school trips, for drama camps, for day trips. We have seen our share of student housing—friends and friends of friends—but only in passing. Always old Queenslanders, or so it seemed: those high ceilings and cornices and all that antique gnarled iron. Overgrown backyards where you threw the morning toast and never went out in. The houses we have seen are nothing like this. The house we decide upon, the house we’re standing in now, is like nothing before or after.
I wish I could say I remember the first night alone in a new city, or the first day that first piece of furniture hit the ground, but I can’t. Only those things that stick in your mind because they’re so banal. The fake-wood wallpaper. That smell in the kitchen. The loose bricks. The grease on the windows from all the buses idling outside. Those things, they seem to stick.