So it's over.
I'm torn, E2, with how honest I should be to you. I think it's time to clear the air, and I suppose this sort of thing does impact on E2 as a whole.
Today, the Bristol Noder flat is no more. The Debutante has squeezed her stuff into the car and left. elem_125 arrived briefly to shuffle things about and disappeared too. Heschelian is long-gone.
It was like a family; we ate together almost every night, shopped together (online), shared washing and cleaning, discussed philosophy, religion and all the silly things that make life worthwhile. We got to know the local shops, and they knew us, so we could go into the Oddbins and ask what they recommended. We drank a fair amount, and all took our turns to be the inebriated one.
We had our little landmarks too. The first friday night meal together, the first weekly 'Ale night' at our local, the completion of our home network, our crossing swords with political opponents, our watching The Simpsons, our first tentative encounters with other Bristol-based noders.
But there were five of us living here this year, not four. That I have no username for my other flatmate is awkward, as I have no good way of referring to her. And that's part of the problem. Early on, she started spending more time in her room, she reacted badly to trivial comments and wouldn't emerge (except to go to University) for a day, two days, even four days. Then once it became a week, two weeks, and ultimately about a month.
When she eventually emerged, she no longer ate or shopped with us, and kept herself separate. And I've always wondered whether E2 is partly to do with that, whether it was a wedge that drove us apart. We picked up the shared language of this place and transferred it into everyday life in quite a dramatic way. We could rant about Butterfinger McFlurry and share interesting writeups over dinner. We would say "Don't make shit up" and "Your ideas are intriguing to me...", and joke about soy. She couldn't. It made the four of us closer, but the five of us more distant.
I enjoyed this year a little too much; I was too comfortable, and comfort stops you being able to do new things. I didn't keep in contact with enough of my other friends, not nearly as much as I should have.
The year has gone all too quickly, and for the last four weeks or so, it's been only me and the Debutante here. I've grown accustomed to being woken in the morning, making strong Ceylon tea with milk in the evenings, watching Spooks on a Monday, having my shirts ironed and doing the meat washing up.
But it's more than that. I know her better now than I ever thought possible. I also know myself a hell of a lot better, too. I've gained a deeper understanding into things I had thought I understood perfectly. I fell in love, but it took me a long time to figure out who or what I'd fallen in love with. In fact, it's only now I can begin to get it. It wasn't a person, or a feeling, or a situation, but rather a person in a certain setting, accompanied by a certain feeling. It was a selfish indulgence of my own. And it was an illusion. Once you know how the trick was done, the magic show is never the same.
Person, setting and feeling can never come back together again. The illusion is utterly dissipated and I sit - with a grin on my face - whole and not broken, finally able to look forwards again. I'd almost forgotten how. The whole year has been so fun, so pleasurable, so comfortable that I didn't really look forward at all. Now I am, to strengthening old friendships and making new ones, to doing exciting things. And as an added bonus, I get to keep what I've gained along the way. No, those things are private. But it's important you know they are there. I am a better person for this year, and for this month.
Heschelian, the Debutante and my other flatmate have finished and will find new paths. My love to them, and my deepest hopes. elem_125 and I stay here -- same house, different flat. My room is 6 inches wider than before. We will have four new housemates; it won't be long until we have them noding.
At the time of posting, we have contributed 170 writeups to the database -- 171 if you count the Judaism metanode. We have gained 4709xp. We give, we take, that's how the community works. You, noders, are a part of our lives. All of you.