For as long as I can remember I have had a thing for buildings. Not necessarily the architecture, but more so for the lives, the stories contained inside the construction.
In my mind, each house is a curtain to be lifted, revealing the show inside. Each home its own stage, replete with all the trappings, each front door the portal to whatever lives are contained therein.
When I was younger and attending a tony private Catholic school on the north side of my hometown, I remember riding through the streets with my face pressed up against the window, looking at the houses and mentally painting the stories of the people inside. Were they married? From the South? Did they live alone? Did they have a dog? A pool? Did they like the color purple? Were they good at math?
As a child it seemed just the fanciful wonderings of a highly creative kid prone to daydreaming. Now that I am older, only slightly wiser, I mostly see it for what it is.
I was a kid always looking for home. I never really had that particular place where I felt safe or welcomed or comfortable. I always thought that everyone had a kind of homestead; that house that, even if it was a grandparent’s or friend’s, where you felt some sort of peace. Where you knew you could always go to when you needed to just be ensconced in warmth. As an adult, I recognize that isn’t really the case. But it never stopped me from wanting one anyway.
I moved around as a kid, luckily not as much once I reached puberty years. But for a time, we never had a house either. We did eventually come to rent a place on the southwest side of the city that I affectionately referred to as The Dollhouse. It was great. And comfortable. But still not really our own. We moved out when I was in college 800 miles away. I didn’t even pack up my own things. As strange as it sounds, I always wished I’d said goodbye.
All my life I have been searching for my own space in the world, some physical manifestation of home. I certainly have amassed a small army of people who love and adore me despite knowing me wholly. But I still would like that place to call my own. I don’t even really want a house per se. Just…
I’ve always wanted a place to send my magazines to. A carved out place so that I wouldn’t feel a dull pain low in my belly at the sight of blank lines on a form asking for a permanent address. Maybe a stain on the carpet from that time the dog knocked over a bottle of red wine. Familiar perches and pictures and pipes and planes that I know intimately. It’s silly, I know, to put so much stock in a structure. But for little La, it’s still a very fervent desire.
I’d like my own curtains to my own stage, holding the theater of my life.