Sunday, October 09, 2011

Haunted city

For me Tours has become a haunted place. Everywhere I look I seem to see the ghost of my old flatmate. And the sad thing is, I'm actually frightened at the thought of seeing her. It's like breaking up with a boyfriend and wondering what you'll do or say if you run into them again, except with less worrying that they might think you're looking fat or be with someone else, and more worrying that they'll just skitz out at you. Come to think of it, breaking up with my boyfriend of six years was both more amicable and less financially complicated...

I'm quite shortsighted, and every time I see someone in the distance or from behind who looks a little bit like her, my heart is in my mouth. The other day, I thought she got on the bus (even though she never takes the bus). Then I thought I saw her in the supermarket and I had to go hide down a different aisle until I was sure it wasn't her. I don't even know if she is still in Tours, or if she left to move in with one of her parents, but I still think I see her everywhere.

I hate feeling like this. Firstly, I'm not sure why I'm so nervous. Surely, in her position, if she saw me she wouldn't want a confrontation. What do I think she's going to do? Scream at me? Attack me? Secondly, it's ridiculous. I did nothing wrong. She stole from me, lied to my face, quit her job and spent 6 months lying in bed living off my money while I was getting up and going to work every day, and she topped it off by finally causing me to lose my home... So why am I sure that I'm the only one dreading the thought of running into her?

Even on a practical level, the repercussions of what she did are not over. Very soon we will have to pay a tax which is based on where you live (kind of like rates, but tenants have to pay it too) and should, at least in theory, be in both our names. I went to the tax office last month to explain the situation and ask if we could be assessed separately. They told me it was too late for that, but it was too early to tell me if the bill was in fact in both our names. It should be, because they calculate it off your tax return and I assume she at least had a grain of responsibility (or self-preservation, more likely) left and declared her taxes properly. Still, it was a bit disquieting when they gave me a piece of paper with just my name and the full amount showing on it. The question is, what happens next? If her mail is getting forwarded too, I don't know what the post office will do with a letter addressed to both of us. I really don't want to talk to her, I definitely am not going to give her money to pay on my behalf, and I don't want to be stuck with the full amount (450 euros). I'm hoping the bill will come to me and I can persuade the tax people to just let me pay my half, give me some document to say I'm not responsible for the other half, and to hell with her. It's so effed up that this is still affecting me.

On the other hand, you may remember that I told her to send me copies of all the outstanding bills, plus copies of all the utilities bills for the time we lived together, and I'd make a decision on what I thought was my fair share of them. 2 1/2 months later, I haven't received anything from her, so I feel like I have a clean conscience on that front. Lots of people told me not to give her a cent anyway, but I'm glad I at least left the door open on it and she's the one who didn't follow up, so I still have my integrity intact. My suspicion is that she had actually inflated the electric bill and that's why she hasn't responded. Even if it was only 20 euros extra a month or whatever, over a year and a bit that's not a negligible sum of money. I did see a couple of bills, but after everything that's happened I think she was quite capable of strategically showing me a couple of very high ones and just blagging it that that was what it was every month. It's not that I can't read an electricity bill - I'm not stupid, and I even briefly had a job where I was responsible for paying the EDF bills for some 200 properties (and took great pleasure in analysing the nitty gritty of them and refusing to pay out for the portions of the bills I thought our company wasn't responsible for). I was just trusting, and I therefore didn't look at anything too closely, or question her about anything.

Now, of course, I feel stupid about that, but at the same time I don't want this to destroy my general faith in human kind and expectation that someone I'm close to probably won't be secretly screwing me over on a long-term basis. Let's hope it somehow works out with this tax thing so that I can finally start to feel like most of this episode is behind me. And maybe then I can stop seeing the ghosts of flatmates past.


  1. I still can't believe everything you've been through with her. If I were in your shoes, I don't think i'd ever be able to trust anybody again. I hope that you'll get the tax issues sorted and that this will soon be over for you.

  2. Don't pay a penny forward G's details to the tax department and tell them that all payments are her responsibility.

  3. Thanks guys. Well, half of the tax I am legitimately responsible for. Plus I don't know where she lives any more. We'll see...

  4. Ask the tax department to check the tenancy agreement. Will they find your name on it? If not no problem - no payment necessary. You never lived there.

  5. No, *I* said I lived there on my tax return, it's nothing to do with tenancy agreements unfortunately...


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