I live in a newly-built development. Our front door is right across from a funeral home and a 7th-Day Adventist church. I mostly use the back door, though, which opens out into a small fenced garden: gravel with a brick path, a picnic table, a potted palm tree, a pot of bamboo, a pot of rosemary, some roses climbing our back stairs, and another anonymous climbing plant brightening our fence. We have a gate painted blue that creaks. Behind that is a small courtyard ringed by other row houses and a footpath out to the street behind the Co-Op and the Domino’s. Today when I was walking home three Domino’s delivery guys were tossing a football (the American kind) around in the road and laughing whenever they accidentally thwacked somebody’s car.
In the kitchen we have gorgeous gas stove, a compact but well-stocked set of cupboards, a lovely big fridge and microwave, and even a dishwasher. Somebody is growing a pot of basil on the windowsill. We also have a clock radio that only gets BBC4, and only if you hold the antenna in the exact right spot.
Next to the kitchen our lounge has a rather large TV, but soon it won’t receive any signal unless one of us gets it together to scrounge up a digital converter box (or at least harasses the landlord into getting us one). There is a dark brown leather sofa and a black leather Ikea chair with a footstool. No table.
The house has three bathrooms so we each get our own, but mine is the only one with a bathtub in it. I’ve already had a good long finger-pruning soak in it twice since I’ve been here. I do feel a little guilty for having such a luxury, but actually mine is the only bathroom with the door in the hallway instead of in my bedroom so in reality anybody could come along and take a bath in the tub if she wanted to.
I live with two other girls, one student and one who is working for the
Met Office (kind of like NOAA.) But don’t ask her what the forecast
will be for the weekend: she hasn’t taken her exams yet.
My room is on the top floor, looking over the back garden. There’s a desk, a bulletin board, two shelves, and a wardrobe for my clothes. My bed just fits in an alcove that’s formed by the closet for the water heater. This means I wake up at seven every morning when the water heater turns on. Every once in a while it also makes a clinking noise – clink, clink, CLINK! – that always reminds me of the recurring bit in Anna Karenina where she imagines the railway worker standing over her and clinking a hammer against a railway tie.
There wasn’t a light in the alcove, so I strung fairy lights all around the inside. Then I hung three paper stars from the ceiling and covered the walls with photos. I draped fabrics from the head of the bed and piled up my collection of pillows. Now I have a secret, twinkling refuge within my already lovely home.