Thursday the 11th of September 2014
Their footsteps pound on the ceiling above. The weight of the sound travels to our ears like notes on a breeze, in a cartoon. We lie on the bed and look towards the ceiling, “I think that’s a woman, she’s wearing high heels…” I say, “I think it’s a man…” he says. Discussing the neighbours we haven’t met yet. There are three apartments on each floor, we’re on the fourth floor (no superstition attached here), there is one floor above us and in most of these buildings, there are only stairs, I’ve yet to come across an elevator. We pretend there’s a ghost in the apartment closest to us as it’s supposedly empty, an elderly woman passed away there (or so I was told). We’re not sure about the apartment directly across from ours, there’s a name on the door but who knows if that belongs to the current occupant or a previous one. The building is quite old.
Friday the 12th of September 2014
At 5:30PM on Saturday the 16 of August 2014, I was waiting outside of my apartment gate. After spending the day cleaning and deciding where to put the possessions I planned on leaving behind, I treated myself to a cheeseburger, fries and cola. I can’t recall the film I was watching at the time. I never usually eat in fast food restaurants; I much prefer to take away. My packed suitcases (one little, one large) and rucksack were to the left of my desk. The bags of clothes, kitchen utensils and other forsaken objects were hidden in my wardrobe. The bed was freshly made. Every surface was spotless; the apartment was cleaner when I left it than when I arrived.
I placed the key in the desk drawer. The door was left unlocked. Goodbye room A6. I looked at my watch, the taxi was late, the neighbours stared at me from their plastic chairs (which they would often place in the road), I began to sweat and then, the taxi arrived. It was a large vehicle, which drove me from my apartment, to the airport. Luckily, I didn’t have to share the car with anyone else allowing me to watch the Taiwanese countryside merge into the city, in silence. I appreciated being able to contemplate my time in Taiwan, being able to say a proper farewell from behind tinted windows, watching the sunset as I travelled ever closer home.
My last night in Taiwan meant I was in school until 1:30AM. I gave two exams that day (Friday the 15th of August 2014), one of which my colleague kindly offered to mark, the other I had to mark myself. I bought Pizza Hut for everyone after my final lesson ended (9:45PM) and we exchanged well wishes. I was paid, I endured the final meeting with my manager, she left for the night and there I was, marking exams until the early hours of the morning. I tidied the office, made sure I had taken an ice lolly for the walk home (as I gave my bike away earlier that day) and that I had left some in the fridge. I pressed the button which lowers the shutters and stood in front of the building until I was certain they were closed.
My flight was due to leave at 11:45PM, from Taipei to Dubai. From there I planned on spending a couple of hours in the airport before my flight to Warsaw. Unfortunately, I experienced several problems in the airport; the most agonizing moment occurred once I reached the check in desk.