Five months in and my apartment is finally starting to feel like a home. What does that even mean, anyway? Home.
Cause it wasn’t the gaggles of lost girls coming over to sit on my uncomfortable ikea chairs around my uncomfortable ikea “dining table,” sharing meals no one felt quite certain about. (Though somehow, it wasn’t The Triumph of the Entire Chicken, either.) And it wasn’t the pasting up of the things on the walls; things that made the place feel like mine but only in the surfaces they were touching. (Squares of unfaded ivory, marking the passage of time as the sun would have them.) It wasn’t the knick-knacks, and not the dust bunnies that had no one to chase after them but me, and not the downstairs neighbors for whom I tiptoe around my bedroom every morning. It wasn’t, surprisingly enough, even the moments of solitude and prayer and reading I certainly wouldn’t have the time or mind-space for, if I were still living at home with the mompops. All those minutes, spent sitting on the white couch, too distracted to read but too uninspired to write.
I’m pretty sure the answer — at least in part — has to do with kitchen appliances.
Okay backtrack: I’m pretty sure the answer — including bits and pieces of all of the things above — has to do with kitchen appliances.
I dunno if it’s just the way my home always was, throughout the transient years, but home is where my mom has all her stacks and stacks of dishes. Where all the rest of us learned WAY too late how exactly to put them away in their right places cause she spoiled, and never demanded chores of, us. Home is Mama Lee’s quiet extravagance — waffle makers and bread machines galore. And Home is warmth around a dinner table, time slowing because everyone relished those meals; the older we got, the better.
And somehow, suddenly and apparently, I have this kitchen all my own, and my apartment is finally starting to feel like a home. I got a toaster oven for Christmas and was appropriately excited, as an old person should be about “opening” the “surprise” of a useful and practical gift for the home. I cook here, read here, sleep here, dream here — I live here now. Next door to the bedroom live the bread machine and the toaster oven and the knife sharpener and the Y-shaped vegetable peeler, relics and testimonies of a life so poured into with abundant love and secret preparations I didn’t even realize were happening. Fingers weaving and caring for me while I (mostly) didn’t even know it.
Though some things aren’t so hip and high-tech — like the fact that I still have yet to figure out what exactly I’m supposed to buy at the grocery store so the city will take my trash away (yeah…) and that I’m typing this away on the desktop sticky note program of my internetless laptop, rendered a glorified typewriter. It’s a weird mix of growing up and…not. And boy am I grateful for these baby steps.
Chin-chin to a year of more pseudo-adult adventures