The story so far: The group of housemates is falling apart. Vera and Willem-Jan have already left, Bianca and Filippo are on the point of leaving. But every ending is a new beginning.
When Wageningen came in sight Derk broke out in a sweat. September was too hot for running and in frustration Derk noticed that his tempo was lower than usual. He slowed down from the Idealis complex on the Haarweg and plodded home.
At the Mortierstraat he was met by silence. The silence of a house to which no one was coming home today. Vera and Willem-Jan had left for good. Filippo and Bianca’s baggage was standing ready. Derk sat down at the table with a glass of water and stared gloomily out of the window.
Of course, housemates came and went, that was part of the deal. Everyone was in a Whatsapp group and they really did intend to meet up now and then. But today he couldn’t handle the goodbyes. He felt like a little kid who had realized the party couldn’t go on for ever. That this jolly ragtag crowd couldn’t go on living together for ever. That your student days don’t last for ever. Something furry brushed past his leg and Vecino jumped nimbly on to the table.
‘Yes, at least you’re staying around,’ said Derk. ‘At least there is still someone who wants to stay with me.’ He grinned at his melodramatic mood. Of course there were advantages. His friend Jelle was going to move into the room next to his. They were calling it a living-together trial. Quite an event. After another glass of water Derk took a shower. Some time later, refreshed, he wandered through the house and turned on the stereo full blast. At that moment there was a ring at the door. Derk hastily pulled on a dressing gown – who could it be? – and went downstairs. When he opened the front door he faced an enormous Ikea package, with hands on each side of it.
‘Hey,’ said a girl’s voice. ‘I know I can’t move into the room until next week, but is it alright if I put this somewhere inside already?’ Derk peered behind the package.
‘Ha, I’m the new tenant,’ grinned a girl with a pony tail. Heavens, did he look that young when he started at university, Derk wondered.
‘Sorry I can’t shake hands,’ said the girl, as Derk took hold of one side of the package. They struggled up the stairs with it, puffing and panting.
‘You know,’ she said, as they plonked the package down in the living room. ‘I am really happy that I get to live here.’ She glanced around the living room. ‘I’m going to really enjoy student life here.’