This episode is part of a series. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 23 years old. That was in 2016. I have lived in Zuidoost, Nieuw-West, the Eastern Docklands, the Houthavens and Noord. Following are my stories, although memory loss and imagination have all been great problems of mine. The hard-core version now only exists in someone else’s brain. All names have been forgotten and changed.
I’m leaving town. For the past month, I’ve been staying in Oostzaan, at Lily’s place. I met her for the first time back in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, on a mad three day trip with four boys I’ll talk about later. We had a few too many drinks and convinced her to move over to the Netherlands, the best place on Earth for each and all of us then. From the original group, Lily and I are the only ones still regularly hanging out. No one knows. We meet for a quick trip to the coffeeshops in the center, only to get her hash, or for never-ending benders in her attic. I have all my stuff there - in boxes piled next to the Halloween decorations she has yet to use. We had to move my stuff to the storage in West. She offered to do it with her new car, a Volkswagen caravan that she’d fixed to travel to Portugal with this summer of 2021. I was unhappy with myself… I still had no fucking clue how to drive a car and had promised her last year that I would not ask for her help moving boxes again. Unfortunately I kept making the wrong calls, and never learning from experience. This time, the whole shebang happened because I was following the pangs of my pussy.
Lily had said, several times, “to keep the stuff up in the attic”, but she was being her usual sweet self. For a while, she’d been talking about moving out of the country as well, and intended to sell the house. Both of us also knew that, until then, she would throw as many somewhat regular sex parties as possible, and the attic was always a favorite for people. Everyone loved coming in there. No one was expecting to be using books as orgy props.
We went to the storage unit a bit before 11PM. There was a slight rain falling and carrying the boxes for the umpteenth time felt foolish. Ruud, from the Mini Opslaag storage company, had given me the unit closest to the elevator. In all my mindlessness, I couldn’t figure out how it worked. I had Lily promise she would not carry any boxes - that I would do it all by myself. But after I got stuck in the merchandise only elevator, we ended up going up and down the stairs. That was at the beginning of this month. Last December, I was moving out of the studio in Holendrecht to live with Basil and a boy I still cannot remember the real name of, in Amsterdam Noord. The life in Holendrecht had been special, to say the least. The bay windows of the studio were going from the floor to the ceiling, offering a continuous view of the construction site in front of the apartment. They were building the new OurDomain apartment complex, thousands of euros per unit, and gentrifying Zuidoost. The area was somehow empty, only a few neighbourhood streets with families and older people, and then an industrial estate and some greenery. With Oliver, love of my life, we would go on walks regularly, because the size of the studio meant we felt like we were sitting in our own tombs, enclosed within four walls. Soon enough we would meet people dressed cooler than our friends, who were as cool as ice. Lily helped me with that move from Holendrecht to Noord as well, of course, coming this time with her small, red, trusty Mini, and waiting outside the building as Oliver and I were throwing everything to the bin. I had tried to sell the furniture on Facebook Marketplace, but it was too last minute, and I couldn’t keep up with the people wanting to show up at random times. A man from Facebook rang the bell and tried to come inside the apartment for a clothes dryer I had put up for 5 euros. By the time he got there, the dryer was already sitting in the trash outside. Lily and I were carrying a table (a perfectly fine one, which Oliver and I had found outside an office building) in the corridor towards the elevator when he showed up. He tried to say he had a written agreement with me for the dryer, and I was telling him to just pick it up for free. He wanted to pay for it, and he also didn’t want to move out of the elevator. Oliver was freaking out about the time - we were throwing things out, while simultaneously repainting and cleaning the apartment. All because the housing agency thought it was a good idea to tell the new tenants to come for the visit and move in on the same day. I was screaming at the man from Facebook, who barred the access to the elevator for a good half an hour. Then I was screaming at the new tenants, who were trying to come inside the apartment with their own set of keys. Oliver then realised that he couldn’t book an Uber and hadn’t thought of a means of transportation for his own stuff. I really needed to find a somewhat stable living place. But that place was also not in Amsterdam Noord.
The reason I eventually had to move out of the apartment with Basil was not due to Ymere, the building owners, like I had told everyone around me. The truth was that Basil and I had lied to each other from the very beginning. He said the contract was for six months, but that there was a possibility of renewing it with the housing agency, if I was making over 3000 €. He was the main contract holder and wanted to move out of the country after six months, and said he could transfer the contract to me. Over those months, we’d written to Ymere for me to take over the contract - continuously but to no avail. I didn’t have the paychecks. Ymere never asked for them. There was no way to transfer the contract even if I was registered at the address - unless both of us could prove we had been partners for at least two years. We had started living together near the Buikslotermeerplein for 3 reasons: no one else would accept my cat, I had a sensible look to me - enough to convince him I wasn’t going to give him any trouble, he thought I was cute - and I wanted to fuck him.