My head touched the fridge, my feet touched the door


In Middle Abbey Street I once rented a room so small that my head touched the fridge and my feet touched the door, writes Michael Harding

I might as well have been in a wardrobe, but I was blissfully happy there because I had a place of my own. And it was better than my mate’s flat where I once lay on the floor and watched a rat’s tail slither through the cracks in the ceiling above me. But then I moved to Ranelagh, which I considered so posh that I invited a journalist from a Sunday newspaper for a sleepover.

The mattress was stained with the lives of many previous tenants, and it lay up against the wall all day because there was no bed base. I kept my duvet in a large black plastic bag.

I shared a bathroom with country girls and one old man, the solitary tenant on the third floor, but I never used the bathroom to wash, preferring the hand basin in my own room. Downstairs a Raleigh bike lay against the wall in the corridor, and there was a phone on the wall. I was on the phone one night when the old man came down the stairs with bicycle clips and a lamp and stared at me like a ghost out of a John McGahern short story.

The journalist couldn’t get a taxi in Ranelagh after we had consumed a few drinks; that’s why she stayed. She had blonde hair and was heavily perfumed and I presumed she was rich.

She climbed over the bicycle and up the bare stairs and then negotiated herself onto the floor. I insisted she take the mattress, but she said she’d prefer to stretch on the floor because she had a bad back. She never undressed and left before dawn as I lay snoring, alone on the mattress, as content as any man on a life raft in a storm; because in those days my life was stormy and my little bare room and my flea-ridden mattress were a wonderful refuge from the world.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.