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The empty kitchen

December 9, 2009

I wasn’t hit by the fact that I was moving out of my old place until I purged the kitchen.

Packing up clothing and books was not a problem and I was able to live for several weeks with just those items. ~ had a lunch date to keep with a friend so I was given the keys to the flat and gave myself a few hours to pack up the rest of my things The last time I had cooked there was on a Friday evening, warming up finger foods for a dozen friends to say goodbye before I flew out the next morning to go travelling. Had I known that would be the last time I’d be living and entertaining in that space I would have gone for a more decadent spread than the best of Iceland.

I started by taking the utensils belonging to me from the cutlery drawer then I went through the bottom cupboard, pulling out the pots and pans which I had bought for the flat over the years and putting them on the kitchen counter without paying much attention. I stood up and surveyed the damage. The entire work surface was littered with belongings and it hit me that I had been the main contributor in terms of both cooking and providing the means to do so. The kitchen had been my baby, I was nurturing it to grow into something significant for the future and now it felt as though I was scraping out the sinew and throwing it into a biohazard bin.

Melodramatic metaphors aside, I was on the verge, and when I opened up the small cupboard which kept herbs, spices, oils and baking goods, it pushed me over the edge. I retreated to the bedroom in a mess hoping that the outpouring of emotion would subside and settle my feelings. My old flatmate, a chef had just woken up on one of his rare days off and I was able to articulate some of my feelings to him, but eventually I knew I’d have to go back to the kitchen and finish off the job.

Raised Catholic, I also felt a tremendous amount of guilt, which seemed illogical given that I was simply taking what was mine, but underneath the surface I subconsciously thought I ought to be doing some penance. I was leaving behind what felt like an empty shell which emphasised the shadow of a former relationship.

My things are now at home. I had the excuse of a placement far away to give me time away, but I will have to eventually face the mini-cupcake cases and the never-used pastry brush and figure out where exactly they will fit and how I can bring them into a context of a living, breathing, working system. Sod the cases, where do I fit in all this? We’re all in a state of limbo.

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