Six Houses in One Year

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

– Anais Nin

Gypsy Caravan Simple Sue 2The tiny, less than 350 square foot-ness of my new house is making me think of the interiors of caravans. When I was a little girl, we would drive through the countryside in England and sometimes, I would be lucky enough to catch sight of these in fields. I have always dreamed of making one of my own…

I have lived a vagabond lifestyle over the past year; leaving my row house in South Philly last April started a path of moving every month or two, from house to house.When I move into the new house next week, it will be my sixth home in one year. A year ago, I lived on Rosewood Street, in between Broad Street and Mifflin Street in the Newbold neighborhood of South Philly. About one year ago, my house was broken into and everything I owned was thrown into piles of disarray in the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. I remember walking through the door that day, into the darkness of the living room, darkness created by heavy velvet curtains on the front windows, and noticed the cushions of the couch, books, decorations were all jumbled on the floor, tumbled into a giant mess. When I walked upstairs into my room, my mattress was tossed in one direction, and everything in my bedroom was torn asunder, cabinets opened, shelves ripped apart, everything on the floor as if a tornado had ripped it all apart.

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I remember that night vividly, despite the tequila haze that clouded my vision. I spent the whole night on my leather couch, after putting it back together, calling everyone I knew and trying to figure out how this all happened. I kept walking upstairs to try to deal with my bedroom, only to see it again, and walk back downstairs. It took me 24 hours to be able to even go into that room.

After that day, I never felt safe in the house, and ceased to sleep well. It has taken until the last few weeks to be able to sleep well again. About a month after that, my roommate and I got rid of all but our most important possessions, and moved out: she to her brother’s house, and me to my friend’s. That was house #2, in Germantown. It was a beautiful house filled with a beautiful family and their many pets: I shared a room with a canary who sang. House #3 came about a month or so later, when I drove to Maine and landed in my parent’s basement. I took every sheet I could find and made the basement into a giant tent, in which I lived until August. In August, I moved into House #4 in Seal Harbor, Maine; a house with no cell phone reception. I had to walk one mile to the beach to use my phone, and spent many nights there sitting at the dining room table, facing my demons, writing about them, meeting them halfway. I spent nights sitting on the Seal Harbor beach sketching, and drank tea on the rocks in the waning summer sunlight.  In late September, I traveled across the country, and then returned to Maine in late October, moving into house #5, on Lookout Lane in Northeast Harbor. Here I have been, in the house that floats above the street, in this beautiful garage apartment, until now. Next week, I shall gather together the few possessions that I have in bins and boxes, and trundle across town to the new house. The house that I don’t have to leave, because, although I am still a renter, it is mine.

The little house that sleeps on the harbor, up on a hill, next to a day parking lot, and a tree-lined path down to the ocean. Across the street from a few houses, an art studio, a restaurant, and a jewelry gallery, behind a museum and a demolition company with a fleet of red trucks.

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