Fifteen years ago this month, my husband and I moved out of the tiny apartment we’d overgrown and into our own house. I hesitate to write that we’d “taken possession” of it, because technically it’s the bank’s house and they’ve been generous enough to let us live here. What excited me most about home ownership? Not that we’d finally have room for all of our stuff. Not that I could go crazy landscaping or putting up an herb garden. Not that we had the ability to knock out walls, which we haven’t, or paint them in colors not synonymous with “off white,” which we have.
What sealed the deal for me was an eight-by-ten spare bedroom upstairs, which would become my writing room—a first, for me. Previously, I’d written in whatever quiet corner I could nab, and my computer lived atop a rolling cart tucked into a semi-alcove of our bedroom. This had become a frustrating arrangement, as I had to work around my nocturnal spouse’s schedule. I am not nocturnal. But I was not about to stop writing. I’d hand-write my morning pages in my journal and key them in when he was up and about. I longed for a room with a door that closed, so I could do my thing when I was at my most creative without fretting that the clickety-clacking keys or the aroma of my coffee would wake him.
So, finally, after eight years, I got my wish. The house might have belonged to the bank, but I definitely took possession of that spare room. I possessed the hell out of it. I stripped off the teddy-bear ceiling border, painted the walls pink, and went into debt for a wood-crate-style corner office grouping complete with an ergonomic-style pullout keyboard tray. I used a housewarming-gift check for a glide rocker perfect for reading, journal writing, and daydreaming. Sigh.
One thing I did not change, however. The ceiling. The former resident of this room had peppered the ceiling with a constellation of glow-in-the-dark stars. I adored them. Sometimes I’d shut the door, turn off the lights, and stare at them, letting my thoughts swirl around my head. Occasionally, a star would fall and I’d make a wish.
Some aspects of home ownership annoy me: the taxes, the maintenance, the things that break when we can least afford to fix them. But the dozen or so stars that remain, and my joy at having this room, are still glowing just as brightly after fifteen years.