The other night after work I spent hours cleaning my apartment.

I’ve lived here for five months now—five months, it seems impossible—and there are still photographs unhung and one box of stubborn clothes and jewelry piled in desk drawers and cluttered shelves.

I send my mother an email of the books I want her to mail me. When I came here I took only the most essential. Van Gogh’s letters. A photographic biography of George Harrison. A few of my more recent journals. Carver’s short stories. Love in the Time of Cholera.

Moving into this apartment has been a slow, lazy affair. I only very recently bought myself a French press. Hung my hats on nails by the door. Arranged my dresses by sleeve length first, color second.

Only in the last week has it begun to feel like a place that’s mine.

I organize my jewelry by metal and set Professor Lupin’s wand in a place of importance.

Hang a wool poncho by the door for those increasingly chilly desert nights.

Water the tiny evergreen my parents sent me for Christmas.

The other day, I set up shelves in my closet and arranged my shoes by style.

It’s been a long process and will be longer still. But even the act of cleaning up a mess can make you feel so attached to a place. Two watercolor pictures found at Goodwill can mean the difference between not mine and mine, finally—mine.

A bookshelf, next. I’ll buy a bookshelf and then we’ll see.



photographs taken in Walt Disney World



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