I have been thinking recently about what makes a home recently as HWSNBN and I are thinking about moving.
Our little flat is my haven. But sooner rather than later we are going to need somewhere a little bigger for my books and his magic the gathering cards (Yes, reader I married a geek) before our home begins to resemble Hoarders: the bibliophile edition.
I am dreading house hunting as I clearly remember the dawning horror as we viewed places a) we hated; and b) realised that we could barely just afford them. Our task is complicated by the fact we live in Brighton & Hove, a place so cool it rains glitter* (*LIES). Although we have both reluctantly conceded that to afford more than a shoebox we are going to have to look outside of Brighton, far outside of Brighton; I’m going to miss living here.
I wish I was one of those people who didn’t mind where they lived but I do. I grew up in a small town where there was nothing to do and nobody to see. I have done my time living with damp rot in the shape of Jon Bon Jovi’s head; or sleeping with a hat on to protect me from the wind whistling through sash windows; or endless bickering over bills. I’m going to be *gulp* thirty-one, I want to live somewhere where I am unaffected by the great Toilet Paper Rationing of 2008.
More important that physical comfort is feeling emotionally safe. Home has also been on my mind because for a variety of reasons I have chosen not to visit my family home for three months. I was twenty-one when I realised that homes, no matter how beautiful, can become cages too. I can still remember that sensation of opening the front door and waiting anxiety flooding through me as I listened for the sounds of somebody kicking off. It felt like living with a slow gas leak, and it wasn’t until I escaped travelling across continents that I realised how poisonous the atmosphere had become.
Since then it’s been really important to me that my home is a safe space. This month instead of feeling frustrated at the lack of garden, I lay on the sofa and looked around flooded by nostalgia for our home.
I remember the first night we got the keys. We were still living in my old flat which had little things like beds and chairs and working fridge. But we slept on the floor of our new flat anyway, the light seeping through the pinned up bin bags on the window to wake us with the dawn. We were so excited to set up home together.
This is the place where HWSNBN and I lived together for the first time. And although I know that home is wherever he is, the thought of losing those memories makes me sad. The thought that wherever I live next Lianne will never see it makes me feel a little sick inside.
But it’s time. We will start looking for a three bedroom house with a garden as close to Brighton as we can afford. Simple really, but the other things we are looking for are harder to define. A place flooded by light, that seeps across the floor like treacle in winter. A place where the eye is drawn outwards with inner horizons. A safe haven.
Easy, right? Wish me luck.
Any house hunting tips, let me know in the comments.