I let go of it. The notion of home. I stopped dreaming of thick rugs and hardwood floors. Of hanging pots and a countertop. Clean white walls and molding tracing the bones of a place. I let go of the idea of permanency and roots and what-comes-next. Began to dream of travel. Of leaving. Of letting go and moving on.


I don’t own a bed. Or a dresser. There is no bookshelf or coffee table or couch. When I left the apartment on Christopher Street I left behind so much. The steamer trunk, my grandmother’s table that I’d promised my father I’d care for. Instead I clung to photos. To candlesticks and bowls. Mugs. I carefully wrapped my few framed prints and tucked them away in a garage in New Jersey.  I have one piece of furniture to my name. A small reading chair that my parents bought me when I turned twenty-five, two months after we all watched as the familiar stormclouds rolled in. They passed quickly. But we didn’t know that then. It’s a tricky business, predicting storms.


The idea of home, in any physical sense, became as small as a glass jar filled with coffee beans and two winter coats: one for everyday use, the other for evenings out. To allow myself to dream of anything else was to be crushed by all that I did not have.


And yet there is so much.


Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.*


To try to write about home without writing about the events of this last year is a nearly impossible task. It would be to write around the sadness. And the more I write around it, the unrulier it grows. It is a story of unkindness. That is as much sense as I can make of it. Before the words are out, that’s all I have.


I’ll write it eventually. Because I write to unpack stories. And then pack them away.


But not tonight. Tonight as I sit on the floor next to the fire, a glass of wine beside me, music playing softly, I’ll write about this hundred year old brownstone. This house with a stoop and an iron gate and tiled entry way. This house on the corner, at the end of a park. This home that is always alive with noise and movement--the television left on, a set of hands on the piano, the shuffle of footsteps. The music of everyday life--full and good and deceptively mundane.


Tonight I will write about how I answered an ad. And how because of that, a small room on the second floor of a hundred year old house is, for a moment, my own. Filled with furniture that belongs not to a person, but a place.  


Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.


It is so different that I imagined. And yet here it is.


There are four of us here. Two who sit often at the piano. Two who trade in the written word. All of us spinning stories in the best and truest ways we know how.


How lucky we are. How imperfect it all is, and how lucky we are.


How in this place our lives abut and fold over and involve the others. Except when they don’t, which is much of the time.


But when panic sets in after I tumble down a whole set of stairs, a door will open and someone will come to see that I am alright.


And it’s nice to have others look after you. Sometimes it’s exhausting doing everything on your own.


I didn’t want to live with others. Certainly not strangers. How long I avoided this very situation. And yet here I am--in a Dickensian-boarding-house as my girlfriend Alisha has dubbed it, and how good it is. I say that without an ounce of irony or pretense.


I let go of the notion of home, and here I am. In a house. Waking early each day, for the first time in months, to make my morning latte.


Occasionally I’ll catch myself looking sideways at the situation. How did I get here? This isn’t what I dreamt of. But god it’s good. Odd, but so, so lovely.


And how much I have.


Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.



*Walt Whitman, of course.