the kitchen is out of order, off-kilter.
the benchtop is narrow, evenly-matched, but on one side there’s five cupboards and the other panel has eleven, some from the ceiling and others from the ground. it should be a u-shape, built and broken up, distributed around the three appliances, space taken up by smaller appliances.
she hates this kitchen, hates that she once dropped a teacup on the ceramic tiling when washing up, and now there’s an odd number of cups; is dismayed at how the spoons in the drawer can’t be levelled off. when she brews loose-leaf tea, scooping out a portion of matcha, the powder always heaped up more on one side than the other.
the rest of the apartment is like this, and she restores order the best way she knows how: even numbers all around, books and nail polish and pairs of shoes stacked in the floor of the wardrobe. she spends as little time as she can inside the place, preferring to be somewhere with symmetry – preferring to not be planning how to make the place more symmetrical by knocking down one wall and converting the spare room.
it’s really too bad about the lease with its contract for an odd number of years.
when she is home she times herself, times it down to the minute so she can divide up her day as evenly as possible: eight, eight, eight, is the first rule she sets for being either in the apartment, working or elsewhere.
(only the number there is in triplicate and she spends more time than she’d like to admit in drawing up a number of charts, division and multiplication so she gets even numbers all around)
one day it occurs to her that in living solo, there is an uneven number of occupants, so she finds a roommate. the girl doesn’t share her concern with symmetry, and jumbles furniture all over the place, leaves things unfinished, uneven, unfixed.
she gathers her things into a box, finds a tiny studio that’s really only two rooms and moves out in the middle of the night. this place is better in its symmetry, two tiny rooms side-by-side: they’re forced to be laid out evenly. she brings almost nothing with her, and furnishes the apartment as needed.
this time around she buys a new set of teacups, an even number this time, and is calmed.