Home is the place I share with you. Do you remember when we were first dating and we shared that tiny bedsit – eating our meals on a low table sitting on Moroccan cushions? – at first it was a struggle to define ourselves and our relationship, but very quickly that space became home to me. It became home because it was where we loved each other to the exclusion of almost everything else. Food was prepared, dishes were washed, the bed was made, we read, we talked, we fell asleep to music; everything was about togetherness. Not cloying or sticky sweet, even in that tiny space there were spaces between us, but a togetherness that was as strong as a steel girder and as flexible as a willow tree sapling. A togetherness that has nourished us since in the years of difficulty that followed. That is what I want for our new home; this little slice of property that will have our names attached to it. Are you thinking the same thoughts? Do you share the same dreams and optimism?
Already, before the ink is out of the bottle let alone dry, I am trying to imagine practicalities. How will we use the space and how will the way we live be defined by it. The view from your desk, where you spend so many hours of every day, will change once again. The view from our bed when I look up from the book I’m reading will be different – once upon a time I looked up and saw your multi-gym and the wall hangings that told me that for all your self-nourishment you were merely camping out here; then it was the room where there were white, wooden-framed square window panes looking out on to green trees that reminded me of a college or a nunnery, a retreat – I loved that view and was so sad when the builders shrouded our windows with green gauze for months without end; when the bed was in Badger Mansions the view said broken promises and blocked ambitions, as this was supposed to be my sanctuary, but we never achieved it and in hindsight we were never all that happy or successful there; most recently I have looked up from my side of the bed and seen the beautiful framed photograph of a prism on the page of a book – the wonder of light and shadow – that was a birthday gift many years ago and also your desk and all that it has come to symbolise, that desk is a millstone, no? I shall be glad when we don’t have to sleep with it any longer.
Home is more than sights it is also sounds and, perhaps most importantly, home has an aroma. I hope that our new home is restful and nourishing. There won’t be the intrusion of singing practice any more and when we shut the door it will be a barrier to the world outside in a way that has not been possible during the flat-share years. What will the perfume of our home say? With top notes of whatever I am cooking, the aroma of our home will welcome weary travellers with the promise of nourishment. The middle notes will be of bee’s wax polish, herbs and spices; this is our home and we cherish it. As to the base notes, I’m not sure that there will be anything more than the fresh air you’ll insist on letting blow through day and night.