My home is my own

mercredi, le 23 septembre 2009

When it became impossible for me to support L’homme and me on my salary in the city I loved, I was fortuitously offered a transfer to the capital city along with a substantially increased salary. As in the biblical tale, L’homme in those days told everybody where I go, he will go, where I lodge, he will lodge. In the city I loved, L’homme was poor and had little prospects. He happily followed me to this city where we now live.

When we arrived in the city ten years ago, the house hunt began. I very soon realised that L’homme had little interest in finding us a home. The show day Sunday list had to be kept short with a break for lunch or a stop at a bar. He became increasingly irritable with my inability to find a house that felt like home to me. We eventually saw the house I now live in. L’homme loved it and convinced me it’s the house I should pay for.

I remember well the day the transfer went through. I sat on the steps in the kitchen and gave in to severe buyer’s remorse. I cried bitterly. I told L’homme I’d made a terrible mistake. I bought a house in the wrong area, it was too close to poorer suburbs, suburbs that were just going to get poorer with time, it was not in a suburb that cried ‘location, location, location’. I told him the value of the property was not going remain linked to inflation. I told him that with poverty creeping nearer, there was going to be an increase in crime. Halfway through my heartfelt sorrow, L’homme had already left for the nearest bar.

Whilst the house was just up the street from where I worked, it was also a short walk for L’homme to a once quaint street lined with bars and restaurants. I juggled my new position and creating a home. L’homme juggled the drinks and new found friends. Soon the walk from the bars to the house became too tedious for L’homme and he moved out to be even nearer to the bars.

I never really liked the house that much. I found it difficult to create resonance with my soul. I started making a few changes, commissioning some artwork and mainly battling with L’hommes absence, his presence, his absence, his presence. Every time he moved out, I liked the house less, every time he moved in, I tried to create a home. But there was always the lure of the bars. In the meantime my house starting falling prey to the gratuitous crime this city is so well known for. With ever new security breach, security would be improved, but it never appeared to be enough.

By now I was juggling a day job, a business of my own, fighting off criminals and trying to make sense of L’homme’s moving out and moving in. The crime became so bad over the Christmas periods that we started referring to the season of cheer as the season of fear.

Then suddenly L’homme announced that he was moving back in. Permanently. He’d made up his mind. I was the woman for him. He needed to look after me. He wanted to grow old with me. He didn’t want a life with anybody else. He was back for good and was not leaving again.

I went back to making my house a home. After another series of violent attacks, I completely overhauled the security of the house, essentially making it impenetrable. I started repainting the outside of the house to ward off evil and to reflect my somber fight against crime. I made sure to include bright splashes of colour to celebrate the happiness in my heart of L’homme in my bed and to let the criminals know that they can’t get me down and they won’t drive me out. Not with L’homme watching over me.

When we came back from France last year, Brave and I started painstakingly re-painting the inside of the house. It is no coincidence that one of my colours of choice was French Green and this was to be used in every room.

L’homme didn’t help much with the painting. Not because he cannot hold a paint brush. It’s just that any such domestic activity reeks of suburbia to him. He finds domestic activity stifling. Oppressing. He did help to re-hang paintings and re-shuffle artwork. To his credit he did help me with some mosaic tiling in the TV room. But all my nesting, all my home making, added to his irritation and frustration. Before the last paintings found a new place on the wall, L’homme’s irritation and frustration bubbled over, he threw blame my way, he ducked from responsibility and he left.

Tonight I’m turning the music up loud, I’m sipping a glass of wine, I’m cooking a wonderful lamb casserole and I’m dancing in the kitchen while The Princess’ soft brown eyes are growing larger. She hasn’t seen this much kitchen joy and activity in months!

I’m taking my house back for me. I’m creating a home for me. For now.

(How apt is it that one of my favourite sculptures in my courtyard is a Kokopelli and the scary part is that I had this sculpture commissioned!! Did I suspect then what I so know now? It was commissioned in the days when L’homme was not living with me. I fell in love with Kokopelli and other New Mexican art on a trip there a few years ago, in a life before L’homme. The Kokopelli is a trickster god, someone who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behaviour, and is sometimes referred to as Casanova of the Cliff Dwellers. He is always depicted as hunchbacked and always playing some sort of flute and often takes part in rituals relating to marriage. L’homme was my Kokopelli, the trickster god, the Casanova, taking part in rituals of marriage, but always slouched under the weight of the bottle, definitely not the weight of the deceitful mind – that responsibility he shifted to others.)

1 comment:

  1. A lady who can write with such feeling and emotion, who cooks well and loves art - you are very blessed.