The door has to stay open for the ventilation of some plants on the first floor. This dark, empty space calls out to me while I’m waiting in the hall for my girlfriend; you know how women are. I feel melancholy and sadness about what this room turns out to represent. Failure of a friend. The loss of many dreams. We all lived along and saw it happen. We tried to interfere at times, tried to help him change, but we were bound to fail. What started as joy and empathy gradually turned into irritation and later into frustration. His disappointments were ours as well.
When I approached our house, packed from a four-month stay in Peru, I was delighted to see it was surrounded by pots with plants. Julian had taken over Giels room. He collected plants that were about to be thrown away by garden centres, and sometimes he bought one. His room was full of them. It was a beautiful new start. The plants gave an impulse. Together with Felix, another new housemate, we were a dynamic trio. We gave the house a makeover, organised a house party themed Jungle, relocated the campfire to a more accessible place for visitors and we organised winter cafés. Julian attracted the people, we hosted them.
Over time, most of the plants in his room turned brown, filling it with death and abandonment. His collection of living and dead plants kept growing, and occupied more and more of our living space. His projects got postponed, and our belief in his stream of promises slowly faded away. Our bond got a bitter side taste. Very often, when we wanted to call him for dinner, we could not find him. “Where is Julian?” became the house question. We tried to help him, we asked him to respect us, he heard us, but he could not act on it. Later, he was gone for months. Unreachable. Then returned unexpectedly, stayed for months, and left again.
A few weeks ago, when I was back to visit Zuzana, he arrived with his dad. He has a girlfriend now. His announcement was plain and clear: ”I’m moving out”. It hurt my heart, but came with a relief. He stayed for a week, then left without goodbye.
The dark emptiness of his room still expresses the memories. It’ll change. Soon, Johanna will enter and bring in new personality. He will be out there, in the big wide unprotected world. Whenever he’ll return, things will seem more hopeful. His goal now, is to build an energy neutral airplane. And you know what? Some light inside me thinks that somehow he’ll succeed.