His apartment

All right, you want to be an adult. Out of the shared apartment, where dirty dishes wait longingly for a washing hand and not a single piece of furniture seems to match another. A makeshift community of people as well as things. Did you have fun? Sure, there were the game and movie nights and cooking together… But now the time has come for a new phase of life! With him.

I open the first cardboard box and think about where to put the souvenir from your vacation in Italy. A small tower of Pisa, as kitschy as personal. It looks out of place everywhere, but that will probably be true for the rest of your belongings as well. After all, your chosen one has an extremely tastefully furnished apartment. Dark, modern furniture, only selected items on the shelves, an abstract painting hanging in the kitchen. Someone in his early 20s who only owns pieces of furniture and dishes in matching colors makes me skeptical. Or is he older than you? Let me guess, you look up to him because he’s a musician? That guitar prominently placed on the living room wall…you could interpret it as him showing off. The entire apartment implies money. Did you first meet at one of his concerts? Did you keep worshipping him up the stage until he finally paid attention to you? You don’t have to tell me anything – which you never do anyway. I’ll piece it together as I go along. However, there’s no way for me to know how your story actually began. I’m just unpacking boxes. But I have the uneasy feeling that you don’t fit together.

It’s not just the completely different interior design style and the relationship that obviously didn’t start on equal footing that makes me doubt you lovebirds, but how you have to squeeze yourself into his life. You’re an artist too, dammit! But instead of a real workplace, you now have to make do with the kitchen table for your laptop. You’ll have back problems by the time you’re thirty, and you won’t be able to concentrate over the bubbling of several high-end hipster coffee machines. I snort disdainfully as I hold a conspicuously small guitar and a music book in my hands. Seriously? Just because he’s a musician, now you’re going to start doing that too? That’s pathetic. What about your passion for painting? Is he even talking to you about it? Doesn’t he respect it? What an ass.

At this point, I realize that I almost wish it wouldn’t work out with you two, so that I would be right in my kitchen-psychological unpacking analyses. And the next moment I suddenly feel ashamed. Maybe he’s a nice guy. After all, he makes room for you everywhere, and looking for common hobbies is something nice. I’m sure it’s not easy for him to put up with your messy belongings among his perfectly coordinated interior decor. I put the last items on the shelf and survey the result. Your purple plastic CD stand now thrones next to the filigree Zen garden of fine sand. I had exactly the same one when I was your age, and it’s even uglier in real life than as a pixel graphic. Anyway, you’ll get along. You just barged into his life, so you can’t expect everything to fit together right away. Sorry, stranger. I’ll see how it goes with you two when you move next time.

Unpacking is about unpacking moving boxes. Not only is it an incredibly relaxing experience, but you also learn a lot about the life story of the person you’re unpacking for without ever seeing them. I really enjoyed this unusual kind of storytelling, even though (or perhaps because) your own interpretations can get pretty out of hand. Unpacking was released on November 1, 2021 for Windows / macOS / Linux, Xbox One / Series and Nintendo Switch.

This post is also available in: German