I’ve been thinking lately about the spaces we occupy, about how we dwell. I’ve been thinking of how we shrink and expand to our containment, how we adapt to our surroundings. I’ve been wondering over how our homes, like branding irons, burn marks into our skin.
On Friday, I sat on the floor of my empty apartment and ate a bagel sandwich. It was my last day there: my scarf collection and the pictures of my favorite things and my brightly colored whisks—everything that had once made the place mine—were cleared out. I was there to clean, rid my tracks, erase my existence in that space so someone else could claim it. My girlfriend sat cross-legged next to me with a cappuccino and we counted the places we had lived.
The new place I’m writing from equals my fifteenth home.
There is nothing remarkable in the number of places I’ve lived, what is remarkable is how each one, so different, I called home for a spell. I reflected on how many different places a home can be. I counted only locations but had I counted all the homes I’ve had—all the jobs and friends and books that I carved nooks into, made a nest within—I’d keep counting until I gave up. Then I’d label myself a nomad of the happiest sort, grateful for all these dwellings and spaces I’ve been given to exist within.
Here in my fifteenth, I am watching the snow blow at a slant, thinking of this new space I am carving as a single mother and a writer. On the first night in this apartment, the movers had delayed me by a day so the boys and I made a nest of blankets in the middle of the floor and curled into each other. In thinking about how we dwell, I’m thinking about how before it snows, we panic, but once it does, we learn to get by within it. Tomorrow I will find my slippers. They must be around here somewhere.
I have not lived in that many homes, 2 different homes in my married life and as a child 4, 3 of which I remember.my daughters only knew one childhood home, this house