An old wooden staircase leads to the top floor.
Its narrow steps remind me of the staircase at Grandma's, which creaked with every step. I arrive in a small, dimly lit vestibule, with the only decoration of a shoe cabinet and a coat rack too much loaded. There are two doors: the one on the left will lead me to a small adjacent greenhouse, which holds shelves filled with plants, vegetables and seeds waiting; this small greenhouse allows all other residents free access to the garden. But it's the door in front of me that interests me: it leads to the apartment of the "couple of the last floor", as they are called here. I wanted to knock on the door, but it was already open - so I entered slowly.
The apartment was both large and very small.
Small, because apart from the vestibule open to all, there are only three small rooms: the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom. Large, because these pieces are all focused on the garden, which is where we end up spending the most time. That's the feeling you get: the garden is the fourth room, the living room, to which the other rooms are only annexes.
I arrive in the kitchen, and greet my friends already present. It bathes in sunlight, while the open glass windows bring in a cool breeze. Some prepare meals in the kitchen, others set up tables outside. Hooks in the garden allow those who want to stay to install their tents, protected from the wind by well placed bushes.
We eat outside, laid on the grass.
When the sun sets, we light a fire and we settle around, while its crackling gently accompanies the sound of our conversations. Soon the fire is no longer enough to protect us from the coldness of the night; we decide to enter the living room.
The room has a low ceiling, and its sofas arranged in a circle welcome us. We talk for hours, and people falling asleep go to bed one after the other. When it became time for 'the couple' to go to bed, I greeted them and thanked them warmly for their invitation, after which the husband carried his already sleeping wife to their bedroom. I also took leave of the last regulars and went out into the garden. I went back to my tent accompanied by the invigorating night breeze. I went to bed and started thinking about the events of the day, but sleep soon got the better of me.
Michael Hoebeke 2018-2019 - All rights reserved.