You’ve seen those TV crime dramas, right? You know, the ones where the cops bust into the apartment of the suspect. They look around, trying to get a sense of the man, a glimpse into his personality.
One of the cops says to his partner, “No pictures on the walls, no books on the shelves, no personal knickknacks. This place hardly looks lived in. What’s up with this guy? What makes him tick?”
Well, I was that guy. No, not a perpetrator of a crime. I just had no pictures of any kind on my walls, no books on the shelves (actually, no bookshelves, either). No plants to be found. Not even artificial ones. I was a true minimalist.
Only the necessities. A bed and a chest of drawers in the bedroom. A recliner, a small dining table with two chairs, a TV stand on top of which sits a TV in the living room. There’s also a small desk in one corner, along with a desk chair and an empty, two-drawer filing cabinet. The apartment looks totally generic, sterile. Anyone could have been living there. Or no one.
In fact, if some police psychologist came to my apartment, he would probably have tagged me as a shady, isolated type; a drifter who didn’t intend to be there very long, who had no stability or sense of self, and who had few human connections.
But that wasn’t me. Well, at least not when my wife was still alive. In my defense, though, when I moved into my apartment a year and a half ago, shortly after she died, I kind of knew it would be temporary. After more than four decades together, it’s not easy to transition from a life together to a life in solitary.
So when she died, I sold our house, the furniture, and all of our shared personal possessions, at least the ones that my two adult daughters didn’t claim. And because I thought I wouldn’t be in that apartment for very long, I didn’t invest in much to make it my own. But then again, after she died, I didn’t really know, anymore, who I was.
Turns out I wasn’t in that apartment that long. I guess being alone didn’t suit me. And now my daughters, who each live in other parts of the country tending to their own families, have flown in to claim whatever possessions their dearly departed and estranged father left behind, which wasn’t much at all.
Certainly nothing personal.