He starts with the easy response.
<I'm twenty-three. Although, hmm, maybe...> he prods at the vocabulary <...it's hard to do comparative timekeeping with any precision on semantic-bleedover† alone, but I think maybe your years are slightly shorter than ours? It might be twenty-four of your years.>
Well, the relatively easy response.
In Tashayan, "apartment building" has connotations of...desperation. It's where you live when you've just fled an abusive household, or you're very poor and living on government housing programs, or you're terminally incapable of ever trusting anyone enough to share a home with them--sure, it's a big decision, it's normal to take years of proving yourselves to each other before y'all make the leap, but eventually--but you haven't (yet) moved to some little remote cabin or something (and yeah, no, things are not going to go well for you in the next life, are they? or for that matter in this life, with so many fewer safety nets than usual), or at best you've just moved out because there was some other place you really wanted to be and you don't yet know who you're going to live with.
It's clear that it doesn't have those connotations here. It's still disorienting, though.
(The apartment building closed? Someone else decided to kick all of them out of their homes?? And yet living in a setup that fucking fragile is unremarkable???)
<...I wonder if the consistent-home thing is part of, like, the same package that makes y'all want to live in cities and never write songs about cuddling? It's...good to visit places outside the home, sure, as long as you don't spring it on the kid at the last minute, but it's also very important to-- to have a sanctuary, a place that's familiar and yours, and where you can lay your head down on the same bed each night. And it's important, especially for kids but also for adults, to have some days where you don't go anywhere.
I could...maybe see an arrangement where you rotate between a fixed set of dwellings at fixed times working okay? But because it would still be consistent in its own way, on sort of a meta level.
Yeah, it-- it's so weird to me that adults don't live together here. It-- teamwork's important? It's...good to share the workload of domestic chores, and be able to partially specialise so that each person is disproportionately doing the chores that they personally find easy or pleasant, and also it's good to...to surround yourself with people you trust, people where y'all can rely on each other for help when something goes wrong, people you can casually talk to or hug as you're going about your day, people who...are part of your sanctuary, and you of theirs.>
People that he will never talk to or hug again, a bed on which he will never again lay down the head he doesn't have anymore, and Xakda will never let him build sanctuary anew, will he--
He's trying very hard not to cry.
<I-- it-- it's not that-- we-->
His voice is audibly strained.
<--we do want to be alone sometimes, it's not like I'm-- a hive creature or something, even if the circumstances of when to do that or not are weird-- but even-- that's not-- the important thing--
I-- I-- I promise I will look away, when you need me to.>
Was now the right time to say that? Who knows! He kind of feels like it was simultaneously absolutely critical that he say that right now and absolutely critical that he not say that right now. But now is apparently when it is getting said, so all he can really do at this point is hope it doesn't blow up in his face.
†he calques this