Me? I'd keep my library on the wall's built-in-bookshelves. Hardwood floors. Exposed brick. Exposed book. We don't need mirrors if we have each other, we need windows to see what's out there but not too much everything, 'cause then we won't be able to see each other anymore. I want us to really look at each other is what I'm saying.
I had a house once. I mean -- I lived in a house, and it was mine as much as anything can be yours when you're a child and don't really have anything but still believe that you will, one day, have everything.
I nested there, as surely and solidly as anything in the world could've been my nest when I was a child and didn't really have anything but still believed I would, one day, nest somewhere else, somewhere spectacular like in Troop Beverly Hills or The Little Princess.
I never liked adventure stories of swashbuckling, journeys, warriors, quests -- I liked novels where precarious girls in frocks and bare feet discovered secret worlds in the wardrobe or in a box in the attic, stories where adventure was as local as wallpaper.
Natalie, my bestie from college who I lived with at two separate addresses there and crashed with last week, saw her Fiji dream house in Architectural Digest. Simple, clean lines, beautiful, next to the sea, surrounded by mountains and green, endless green. Open & floor length windows, glass walls and the bamboo bedroom walls open up to the spectacular sea. Hardwood floors, lots of ceiling fans, crisp linen, a beautiful kitchen where she can see all the people she loves sitting at once with wine and laughing. Stainless steel everything. Huge bathtub. Colors, and light, and dreamity dream dreams.
And when, at thirteen, my parents got divorced and we were made to leave that house I owned [or thought I owned] I left kicking and screaming, literally, staging a sit-in on the blue carpet in the style of the Vietnam protests my parents had told me about. I said I could not go. I demonstrated this by burying my head in the carpet. To my left -- the closet I'd turned into Samantha (a doll)'s bedroom. To my right, the futon and my loft bed and my desk where I wrote stories on my loud clanking electric typewriter.
To my all around -- my walls; posters of places I wanted to visit (like New York City) and hulking portraits of my hero Nolan Ryan who kept on pitching 'til he won.
Haviland wants a place like this hotel in L.A. called the Visceroy, like 60's stuff like in Bewitched [her typo was "betwitched," which's better, yeah?], the decor from I Dream of Jeanie, and lots of mirrors and of course the beach, always the beach and the waves, and the wind in her fairy-tale hair.
In the fifteen years since leaving that place on 431 Crest Avenue [like the toothpaste], I've switched addresses 23 times. As unhinged as that's made me feel, I've established certain precautions -- I always know where I'll be at least two weeks before I go there. I've never, for example, had to crash, or put my everyday things and furniture in storage, or couch-hop. A luxury, sure, but for me it's hardwired as hardwood and the only thing that keeps me grounded in a life of freelancing and freewheelin' and now, no legitimate roots anywhere, noplace I've ever lived that'd have me back or even knows my name.
Carly: "my dream house is whatever house Robin is living in. What, too gay?" Carly's dream house is not too big and it's modern but not cold, and there's a pool and room for dogs, and she can entertain or just sit around and watch tv in her pajamas. She says, "I can't figure out if that means I want a house on the beach in CA or a penthouse in Manhattan. Guess I'll have to get one of each!"
At boarding school near the end of my junior year, my writing teacher invited his workshop over for dinner. I rode my bike there, it was on campus. I had lots of coffee which was still a drug to me then because I was 16 and full of hope and spirit. I didn't say much 'cause I was shy, but I remember the books in his room, and the warmth they created with their words and possibility. I remember the brook in the backyard, like a cheesy watercolor rendered beautiful.
I remember, remember tangibly, the feeling of whipping through air on my bicycle from his house afterwards and thinking, "Marie Lyn Bernard the world is at your fingertips/handlebars!"
That was when energy, not oblivion, was my drug of choice. And I decided that night that when I got home for the summer I'd build myself a cave -- I'd always loved that shit, the treehouses and secret clubhouses -- a cave no-one else could squeeze into -- a place where I'd read poetry and write brilliant brilliant heartbreaking things. I'd write a novel, I said. All I needed was the right space, the right cave.
Adam's number one awesome houseboat is MacGuyver's. Distant second; Duncan during the relevant season of Highlander. In his elementary school sketchbook he drew his dream house -- he sketched it. It was a castle. With a moat. And a wing for his mommy because he was/is that kid. And he went on to form his romantic archetypes from the relationships in fantasy novels which wasn't healthy but the women were plucky (he chose the angsty young sorceress nobody understood, not the ditzy princess in distress). And then there was a real-life man with a real-life wife who had spines; spines of books, candlelight. That, after all, is his dream house: "I would probs want more light than he got, but it was night when I was there, so just about anything would have more natural light than nighttime."
And so, here I am. Basically what happened was I was all set with the apartment and then five days before I found out it wasn't going to happen ... I don't, and won't, go into detail, because it's my life as a house too, and it's complicated and I hate myself already for typing this sentence already.
I realize, oh I realize, that there are children in Darfur who'd love to be sans-address but have a bed to share with a friend or a couch to hop to, close one's eyes on. Perhaps if I didn't realize this, it would be easier to figure out how I feel. But every thought I have is overrridden by the other thought; the thought of people who are sleeping on the streets, who need more than my change/change.
My short list includes the loft from Igby Goes Down, The Factory, that house in the Hitchcock movie with the cliff chase and the hanging, Walden Pond, the house my writing teacher lived in, and more and more and more that I will think about tomorrow and then add 'cause this post is totes incomplete, like you and me and everyone we'll ever know.
Caitlin. Wants a house on the beach with a pool and a backyard and she imagines her dream house to be like in Life as House, the movie that said: "I've always thought of myself as a house, I was always what I lived in. It didn't need to be big, it didn't need to be beautiful, it just needed to be mine. I became what I was meant to be, I built myself a life, I built myself a house, with every crash of every wave I hear something now. I never listened before. I'm on the edge of a cliff, listening. I'm almost finished. If you were a house, this is where you'd want to be built" and "What? Do I still love you? Absolutely. There's not a doubt in my mind. Through all my anger, my ego, I was always faithful in my love for you."
And so, nowhere I am. And so I do not know who I am. And so I want more than anything to be proud of myself. Which won't set us free but Who I Am is the great mistake in a life full of mistakes.
And so tonight I will go to sleep, ideally, though I've struggled with sleep the past few days 'cause I'm not good with strange spaces, and so I panic, and so tomorrow I will wake up, and I will go to work, and I will, if I have the time, attack this post and try to make it into something as glorious as four walls, as something I could dig into, as something I could keep. Something I can own, as much as any child can own anything.