Love in Covid Times with Sue Shelley

Sue Shelley has long been viewed by Ratio as an exemplar of relational working, helping the most disadvantaged young people in Liverpool find some footing back in mainstream society. Sue seems…


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Number Fourteen

The house number is 1407, fitting for building which for me marks residence number fourteen.

I encase someone else’s bed with my sheets. I fill someone else’s closet and dresser with my clothes. I use pots, pans and dishes that have seen many other hands. Someone else’s choice of paintings are pastel washes on a neutral-coloured wall. I leave someone else’s decorations up, so it does not look so bare.

I bring only what I need. I wish to leave as much of myself behind as possible, so I unpack the minimal amount to give the room a false sense of home. I tell myself that it is good enough; it has enough comfort and familiarity for me to pretend it is mine.

I do not want to leave a part of me here, when I move on. I have done that with the thirteen others, and I am running out of spare parts. Each building I occupy leaves the impression of a feeling in my mind, a reminder of the time I spent and what it meant. I do not want to remember this.

Some places were supposed to be home forever. Others, a step on a ladder. Some, a tomb.

Here? I do not know yet. It leaves a feeling of emptiness, undercut by a last desperate wisp of hope, as I study the shell that tries so hard at being a home.

I have carried every one of them with me. I drag things of mine and parts of me through the years and across thousands of kilometers. Collectively, we seek somewhere that does not need to try so hard but just is, where it really will be mine, where the parts of me will have a chance to catch up and rejoin one another.

For now I too am a shell, trying so hard to be a person.

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