Monday, July 11, 2011

My Place(s)

Over the years I have lived in so many many places but never more than a year and a half at a stretch.  Some places I remember others are faded way back into my recesses.

Tonight a young couple came over to look at my rented townhouse.  They came with a neighbor and a female friend who knew the place better than I (me?) because she lived here for a few years two tenants ago.

"Oh my I can't believe they painted it this weird color.  And what is this?" she said pointing at something protruding from the ceiling in the kitchen and I looked up for the first time.

I was about to walk them out onto the deck but could not find the right key to open the door I have opened only three times in twelve months.

"Let me do that for you," she said and immediately opened the door.

"You never really lived here even though you stayed here," the former tenant said to me as the young couple planned on what would go where.

I have never planned on staying anywhere I thought.  Least of all here.  And never alone.

I keep my places clean.  Sleep there.  Leave there.  Then do it over in the same order.

The night Bollywood came over I was not prepared for company.  I never am except for at number 11 where the rhythm and space is not mine.

I made masala tea for her but she took just two sips and set it down where it stayed for too long past her departure from South Africa.

"I can't live alone like this," she said with a kind smile as she looked in on my bedroom.  "It is empty but it can be made nice," she added.

I think she said the word "potential" but I was not paying attention to words.  If she had wanted I would have painted the whole townhouse and furnished it by morning and still got her to the airport on time the next day.

I can remember only one place from my past I really miss.  It was a condominium tucked away in the beautiful green hills of West Portland (Sylvan).

The difference about that place to borrow from the former tenant tonight is that I actually "lived there" rather than just "stayed there".

I fell in and out of love in that place over the four and a half years.  A beautiful woman gave me flowers there.

I wrote some of my best academic articles there. Kept potted cacti and arranged African ornaments I brought from home alongside stacks of books.

I listened to music there and sat on my f*cked up couch that Rosalita thought messed with my game.  But it didn't. 

I watched Sanford and Son re-runs there.  Laughed at The Three Stooges and even played my guitar on quiet nights there.

I cooked there.  Invited guests over to eat with me.  Sat out on the deck on summer nights and looked into the sky and counted stars there.

I laughed there and cried there.

But mostly I lived there and lived then.

Makes me think of Luther's haunting anthem, "A House is Not Home"... if you know it you know what I mean.  If you don't ... listen to the late master lay down a Jungian analysis of a house, love, heartbreak, and life's purpose.

"... A room is a still a room
Even when there's nothin' there but gloom
But a room is not a house
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart ..."


PS: I think that black dog you talked about will do just nicely, but not here.  Tonight I moved out if even not yet, the new tenants already live here and I sincerely hope their love will grow here.

No comments: