Today is an anniversary. A small yellow one, but notable still. I bought a house four years ago. I've managed to make every mortgage payment, pay every cent in taxes, keep it insured, the lights and gas on. I've planted more flowers than I ever thought I could, dug shotgun shells and crockery shards out of the soil.
I suppose it's some proof of adulthood, this ownership of a plot of land and the wooden box nestled into its hill. I don't feel like an adult. I feel like I'm still the same bumbling, unsure creature I've always been. Minor catastrophes arise and I flail briefly before rectifying them and celebrating my victories.
At the time I bought it, I was married. I thought it was happily, but there was already so much wrong, had always been wrong. I'd fooled myself into thinking bone-gnawing loneliness was contentment. The night we closed and moved in, we completed an application to adopt a dog. A replacement of the children he refused to have with me. A ray of happiness in a muddle of angry grey, she sounded the death knell of our already sparsely active bed.
In the time since, I've built shelves, painted rooms, repaired plumbing, hosted parties, contemplated suicide, bedded new partners, cried so hard I thought I would dry up and blow away. Through it all, my house has stood around me. As it's stood for generations before and will stand for generations after. To know my home will outlive me is a balm in times of chap.
I'm happier now than I ever have been. I've surrounded myself with people who love me and aren't ashamed to show it. I'm safe and secure within the walls of both my house and my body and I'm doing it alone, mistress of all I survey. The alone isn't frightening or sad or lonely, it is empowering. Because alone is something I want and can have whenever I choose while lonely is a marrow-sucking thing you can feel with love sitting next to you, your soul slipping out one wisp at a time.