We got the keys to the apartment exactly one week before the new year. The significance of this was mere. It was like the calendar was our countdown, our living together north of the city always veiled with the inevitability of expiration.   

It wasn’t the first place out of home I’d lived, but the second, which somehow felt infinitely more adult and exponentially more childlike. Meg and I were still playing pretend, paying bills and paying attention to the number of lights left on. We were twenty-two and only babies, the world new and beginning, everything on the verge of becoming. 

When Meg was out and the living room empty, I’d sit in my new room and listen to voices on the street below. “This used to be my neck of the woods,” I heard a man say as he walked past my window two storeys below.  

Everything felt permanent then. I felt old enough to be aware of my tendency to romanticise my youth, to drink from the rose-coloured glass of nostalgia forever at my fingertips as I reminisced on teenage years and came to terms with their conclusion.  

But still, I felt young enough to believe that being young was all I could be. When I was twenty-two, youth was all that I had known. Endings felt inevitable, but also unlikely. The closing of the curtain felt like a fairy-tale I didn’t have to believe in. This neck of the woods felt like it would always be mine. 

Written by Juliette Salom

Image courtesy of Ashley Armitage (@ladyist)

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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