In the bedroom I once shared with my brother, I remember setting up a desk, covered with my important fourth grade work. I used allowance to buy my own planner (a purplish American Girl one, of course) and set to marking down all the important reminders that my glimmery fourth grade brain felt deserved immediate attention. The planner also had stickers. More grown-up planners should come with stickers.
In the living room I first shared with my husband, I set up a desk again, very possibly the same folding table that was a smidgen too tall for my fourth grade self. Tucked neatly under the desk was the swirly purple chair my fifth grade self insisted was vital for doing homework. Two short walls, two little desks, and two newly married folks: one room.
In the living room of our first apartment, I set up a desk in my own corner while my husband squeezed himself (and his own desk) into a walk-in closet. I nested in my corner, but never stayed settled for long; see, the corner shared a room with the kitchen, a space the sends me whispering messages of, “come and see the mess you’ve left, dear,” and “isn’t there something to be chopped or boiled or baked, little cook?”
Now in a small, west-facing room in our first house, the kitchen cannot whisper loud enough to reach me. I can’t even hear the dishes clank when someone adds a spoon to the pile. I hear a bit of B. J. shuffling in the room next door, but nothing more. Perhaps a cough or sniffle. Perhaps.
An electric kettle, a few mugs, my own tea, my own chairs, and desk, and books, and windows windows windows windows. I count four.
A room of my own with flimsy blinds and funny, sponge-painted leaves, and homes for others, too: this is what I have needed.