Apartment on Fire
I am walking in a local village, St-Prex, where I first lived when moving to Switzerland. I notice some construction work going on inside an old building. Apparently they are renovating apartments inside. As I watch, I suddenly remember that I had signed a contract of pre-purchase on one of the apartments. I feel panicky, wondering if it binds me to purchase, and if so, what to do.
I go inside to check around – there are construction workers, and also some regular people wandering around. It is apparently an open house for potential buyers. A Realtor is showing them around. I don’t recognize him and so pretend I’m just one of the group, hoping he won’t know I’ve already signed something.
We are in a large lobby on the main floor. I notice that “my” apartment is just off the lobby, but there is no wall separating it, the wall between the apartment and the lobby is yet to be constructed. I go wandering through. It seems small, but I notice high slanted ceilings, like one would see in an attic apartment. It’s lovely and gives a nice feel to the small apartment, opening it up and making it feel larger. I am not displeased, and think that perhaps it might work for me.
— some dream stuff here that I can’t remember —
Next I am walking in St-Prex again, talking with a friend, and we pass by the building. I notice there are many people gathered, another open house? I leave the friend and go inside. The apartments are finished now, and the Realtor is showing people around, some in a group with him, some just looking on their own.
I go into my apartment. It is finished and the first thing I notice is the kitchen. It is very modern, and has a medium sized refrigerator. There is a panel on the door of the fridge, some kind of electronic device that controls various functions in the house. Everything in the kitchen is like this, very futuristic and modern with control panels like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie. I wonder if the fridge makes ice cubes.
I notice that though the kitchen is rather large for the space, the living room is quite small – room for maybe one easy-chair, not much else. The bedroom is furnished with a single bed, and not much larger. I am wondering if it might be too small after all. Then I go through a hallway and discover that there is a gap in the wall that leads directly into the lobby! I go out through the gap and find the Realtor.
He tells me it will be repaired, but that I can also choose another larger apartment if I wish. He suggests I look around so I go up the stairway to the next floor. There I find a two bedroom apartment that is larger in all ways, bigger living room, bigger kitchen. The kitchen is a different style, but again, full of control panels and modern electronic devices.
I step out of the apartment, thinking to see maybe one more, but the Realtor is now calling everyone down to the lobby for an announcement. I go down, but notice some people are ignoring him, continuing to explore.
Down in the lobby, the Realtor starts to say something but suddenly someone calls out “fire”! I notice smoke billowing down the stairwell. We all rush outside and to the other side of the street. As we stand there, we see the fire rushing through the apartments, now the whole building is aflame.
I watch the flames reaching out of the windows, in awe of the destruction.
I’ve been thinking (a lot) about moving and buying an apartment, looking online at what’s available, though I can’t make an offer on anything as long as the house is not sold. Curious that there is so much emphasis on the kitchen in these, considering I can’t cook and will be getting my meals delivered. Yet the kitchen seemed to be the main “control board” so to speak.
There is also a feeling of panic about the contract, wondering if I made a mistake, how to get out of it, how binding it might be.
Then fire, destruction. Just as I was warming to the idea of a two bedroom apartment. And why St-Prex? As a place, it holds some of my best memories. And some of my most painful ones. Some kind of symbolic burning away of the past? Or something else, I don’t know.
Setting: St-Prex, apartment building interior, lobby, apartments under construction, finished apartments
People: me, generic Realtor, generic people
Props: kitchen appliances, control panels, bed, contract
Actions: looking at apartments, fleeing from fire
Snippets of thought: first home last home? burning away the past, fire, cleansing, contract-fear of future? Burning away the fear?