All those bits and pieces we gather around us. We buy it, we’re given it, we inherit it. Sometimes we’re hard put to say where it’s actually come from, or when we actually got it – it’s just there, the back drop to our lives. It generally just stays where you put it, year in year out. It gives us a sort of stability. We hardly really know it’s there – it’s just, well, part of the furniture.
But sometimes – for example when your husband moves out – you’re forced to notice it.
First of all we had to go round the house deciding what was ‘his’ and what was ‘mine’. Surprisingly, not nearly as difficult as we both thought it would be – most things fell naturally into one camp or the other. He took the sofa that he always sat on, I kept the one that I always sit on. He took the spare bedroom furniture, he took his desk, I kept my desk. And so on, through the whole house. We went room by room, generally in agreement – there’s no point in making things any harder than they need to be.
On moving day, there was too much to think about, making sure the guys knew what to take and what to leave, making endless cups of tea, keeping busy and being practical.
After he’d gone, there were gaps.
The spare room was completely empty – I moved my office in there, from the attic. My desk, a filing cabinet, a bookcase and the printer. It takes up little more than one corner of the room.
There was a space in the living room, under the window, where his sofa used to be.
The garage was almost completely empty.
Only now am I starting to think about the gaps. When I was training to teach, they told us to own the room. Don’t just stand at the front – walk all around, go to the back, own the space.
And that’s sort of what I’m starting to do here, owning the space. Physically moving in to the space. Using the space for something.
I’ve put a different chair – my patchwork chair – under the window. It gets the sun in the morning, and I make a point of sitting in it to drink my morning coffee and to read a book. It sets me up for the day. It’s my happy place.
The garage was very definitely my husband’s space. I think I’ve made a good start at reclaiming that – I’ve painted all the walls since he moved out, and now that the MG has been sold I can get in and paint the floor. I’ve re-organised it, and things are where I want them to be. A place for everything and everything in its place.
But in the spare room, where my office takes up little more than one corner, I’ve found that I don’t go into the rest of the room. I don’t use it – I don’t own it. I need to do something about that. It gets the sun of an evening and would make a lovely place to sit and read, or knit – somewhere to do something peaceful that doesn’t involve watching the TV.
The sensible thing to do, with all this under-used space, would be to downsize. And I know I’ll have to sell the house eventually and move to somewhere smaller. There’ll be time enough for living in a small space when I have no choice in the matter.
For the time being this is my home – and I’m going to live in all of it.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but still no news. 6 days late.
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