January 12, 2016

I moved. Moved to a new home, a home without so many memories attached to it, without all the good and the bad, the best and the worse, a clean slate, a fresh start and all those clichés. I wanted to write this on my last night at the apartment as I took down the biggest and most unavoidable physical evidence of memory – the tree with photographs on the wall – but the earthquake startled me too much and I lost my train of thought.

I always had unacceptably high expectations towards that apartment. First of all because it wasn’t supposed to be just my apartment, but a welcoming environment to build a new life, a life we started drafting back home in Brazil, a life filled with dreams and plans, fun and enjoyable times. I won’t go again through what happened because there are already plenty of posts on the subject. When May moved out, there were still plenty of traces and evidence of “Tito and May”, some of it I was aware of, some of it was too ingrained in me to the point I only realized its importance and meaning when facing the unavoidable need to either tear it down, break it apart or pack it into a carboard box.

I get attached to things. Inanimate things that are not really valuable in terms of price but filled with important moments. I usually have them near me, in a notebook or a box. They allow me to recreate and relive these special times. It’s like an unwritten journal made of bits and pieces. A movie stub, a time stamped bus ticket, a post-it note, drawings and scribbles. Almost all of them are made of paper and among these, most have some sort of time record – day, hour, month – which are useful when combining some (or many) together in a string of events and recollecting the gaps between the tracks. I also get attached to plants since I feel they’re the closest things to pets I’ve had in the past years. It’s my duty to not let them die. If I don’t care about them, who will? I like to feel responsible for their well-being. Sometimes I fail and they die, sometimes I’m able to bring them back. I feel genuinely sad when one of my plants die, even when that is natural (like basil).

There was that tree on the wall. Both a plant and a time-stamped record. I had already taken down the photos a few weeks back, but the tree remained. I didn’t want to kill it, I didn’t think it was my right to kill it, but still, it was my last night there and it had to be taken down, with nobody else to do it. For most of my time living in that apartment I wanted to make something with that tree. An animation of some sort, I don’t know. I never got around to do it. Taking it from the wall was my closest chance of doing so, and that’s how I did. Slowly, revisiting each fruit that no longer hanged from the branches. Taking off each leaf at a time, handling each bird with care, leaving the main branches and trunk for last. Then, branches, as if the tree was growing, but in reverse, until there was only the roots and the base of the trunk, with a tiny leaf on top.

This was my way of not killing all the good we had together, but starting a new stage of our lives. Different from what it was, but that still requires caring and watering. I think this will be the last post on this subject. It was supposed to be before New Year, but since it’s on my New Year streak, it counts as 2015.