Sentimental Slavery

by Dima

My grandparents have resided in their flat since 1976 and their love for “things” made it look like a second-hand shop. They stuffed their home with a lifetime’s worth of possessions; a practice that continues even today. Recently, they began to collect plastic bags and the clutter that was once moderate, is officially out of control.

They live on the second floor in a block with thirteen entrances; the perfect place to get lost! The building, known as the “Great Wall”, overlooks the saltpans of Burgas and it is a short walk to the city’s sea-garden. In fact, you can cross the entire town on foot; it is that small.

Their two-bedroom apartment has a tiny kitchen and a reasonable size bathroom. Each room has its own balcony, but they share the same view as all three are aligned in a straight row. A large chestnut tree throws thick shadow with its huge branches and leaves the flat quite dark for most of the year.

The middle balcony belongs to the kitchen and it has a large wooden cupboard jammed with empty jars and ice cream boxes, styrofoam trays and plastic flagons. The drawers are congested with used straws, bottle caps, wooden ladles and foil cuts. Another storage cabinet is the home of piles of old newspapers, sacks of plastic bags and loose hemp threads. Next to the oven a dozen used bottles are filled with tap water in case the pipes run dry.

Two of the kitchen’s walls are covered with cabinets stuffed with plates and bows, cups and pots, trays and other kitchen utensils. Deep or shallow, large or small, made of porcelain, glass or alpaca, all are at your disposal. A beautiful tureen sits gracefully on one of the shelves rarely used for any purpose. In the cabinet under the sink one can find dishwasher sponges and household gloves, empty glass bottles and jars with jam. Inkless pens and dusty notebooks are shoved under the breadbox along with successfully completed crosswords; my granddads’ hobby.

Oak paneling covers the walls of the entire corridor, which makes it even darker. The built-in wardrobe behind the kitchen’s door is packed with books and shoeboxes. A large wooden clock with cuckoo bird hangs oposite the mirror (no sign of the birth thou). Lotions, creams, deodorants, ear buds, keys, hats, walking sticks and a broken umbrella are jammed around the mirrow. My grandparetns are too old to care about some of this stuff.

They crammed so much furniture in their living room that it looks like a separate little home. A three seater sofa sits oposite a library with books and things collected over the years. A fold down bed is next to a cabinet with crystal cups and liquor set in cut-crystal and gilt bronze; all bought during a trip to Russia in the seventies. Large armchair covered in dark flowers sits next to a Singer sewing machine that is pushed right behind the balcony door. To fill the space, a round table with four chairs is placed in the middle of the room. Books on history and war, chess techniques, practical guides, Russian literature and poetry are neatly placed over the cabinet. Three beautiful tapestries hang from the walls; all handmade by grandmother. The Oriental rug that covers the parquet is thick and rich in red and blue. And to make the room more diverse, my grandparents left many things on display.

Although, I’ve been coming to their home since I was a child, writing about it actually draines me. They have locked their past with adding more to it every day. If I express the desire to throw something out, I witness an emotional moment and the answer is often “no.” I fear that I might become the same santimental slave, but I hope I have enough time to learn how possesions may effect my life.