It’s a little chill this morning; there is enough wind to sway the oleanders and plum trees outside. It’s still quiet; the mockingbirds have settled into the work of hatching and feeding the babies born of the love song competition that wound up about a week ago, and there is no morning rush hour nor school drop-off on a Sunday morning as I sit here with a mug of tea and a pbj, surrounded by pieces of the crumb quilt I plan to work on this morning.
Bryan and I have lived in this building almost nine years now. That is the longest time I’ve lived in one place, and it’s only in the last several months that I have felt solidly rooted in it. When I was a child, my father sold real estate, selling tract houses and pulling up roots every Fall when the last houses of the school-year rush had passed escrow. We would move during the Christmas break, so there would be yet another new place (or two) to occupy for a while, another classroom in which to be the new kid through the Spring. I made friends the same way I made art in those years, with all the skill and care I had, knowing they would disappear into the past like my ephemeral art into the trash when we moved. Things stabilized somewhat when my mother took her Social Security settlement and bought a trailer in the park where my grandmother lived; she lived there until she died, and I with her most of that time. Nothing but the memory of those times remains to me, I think, but a first birthday card and a photo of me in the fourth grade. My sister has a few more bits, but she’s off into the past as well now, so eh. It’s done.
After my mother’s death, the peregrinations began again. I was talked into buying a house for a day and got out of that, then there were a series of rooms, a couple of studios, then back to rooms in others’ homes until I went to work in Rancho Cordova, where I could afford a one-bedroom apartment and no furniture as long as my call center jobs lasted, then couch surfing first in Sacramento, across Texas and Oklahoma until I got back here to Sacramento. I was fairly savage by then; after I’d found and rented our first apartment in this building, I told Bryan I wouldn’t move again unless he could find us another place that either of us could afford alone if something happened to the other one. Eight years later, we’re still here in what is probably the cheapest two bedroom apartment in town, and we’re gathering the things we need to make it more comfortable for the long haul. I still have friends I made more than two decades ago. I’m not uncomfortable having them in. It’s been a long time coming, but this is home.