Discover more from The Unraveled Heart
Letters to my home
The universe is not subtle
It wraps around me like a blanket, warm and familiar, womb red walls, dusted with cat hair. I see myself closing the front door and feeling held, smelling coffee and agarwood, hearing the rumble of the washing machine, photos on the fridge, big smiles. An excited dog ready for her walk. Tarot cards leaning against an altar, one of the many dotted around the house. Mismatched plates I’ve used for decades, the 70s sideboard from my mum. The rug Baba destroyed with her claws, the countless side tables found in markets. A wooden bench in the garden waiting for tomorrow’s morning coffee, not yet weathered, as new to this place as I am. A fox den at the edge of the wood, the wild sea far off in the distance. My future selves meeting me there, the community that will be found, visits from family, beloveds knowing they can retreat to my guest bedroom whenever they need.
[my home board on Pinterest]
I don’t want to travel the world. I don’t have or need a bucket list. I want to plant the deepest roots I can and finally have a place that’s mine. I feel so ready for it I’m like a child waiting for Christmas.
The last time I felt certainty like this was 2008. I was three years into my bereavement and living in my hometown, the place that held me through the worst of it. I wasn’t ready to move back to London but the next chapter was calling and when a friend mentioned she was thinking of moving to Bath (she never did), a small and beautiful city I’d only visited once, I knew. The day I went flat hunting with my sister we drove through the streets pondering the last apartment we’d viewed. I was so filled up with knowing — the signs had been plentiful! — but I still needed that final push because who am I to know what I’m doing? “Was that the right place? I need a sign!” I may have asked out loud, I can’t remember now, but I do remember turning to look out the car window the exact moment we drove past a shop with one word painted above the door:
I visited the Susannah shop many times in the three years I lived there. My tiny rented home was far from perfect but it was the perfect container for the business I birthed and the books I wrote there. I became an auntie in that flat! I also started dating in that flat but that’s a tale for another time. It was an important chapter that prepared me for my return to London, where I’ve lived for the last 11 years.
If you were to slice my heart in half you’d discover London on one side and the seaside in the other. I grew up by the sea and as my mother still lives in my childhood home I’ve often wondered if that meant the home piece of my life was already filled, because I’ve never had a mortgage, never wanted to claim a place so permanently, always assumed I’d do it when I found my guy, when we got married, when the kids came along. None of that happened and while the kids thing is a complicated ache, the rest has been released. Gladly — surprisingly — released. I’m free.
So this home I picture is all mine. Every book, every chair, every speck of dust. At 50 years old I’m calling it in. I want to bring all my past selves with me, Susie, Sue, Susannah, Suze, and we’ll live in that house by the sea with our cats and our dogs and our future selves, a coven of self that hosts friends for the weekend and we’ll do our best to make meals because our ADHD won’t be magically cured and I will still be me but I’ll be me with a home that is all mine all mine.
Small, imperfect, womb red walls.
I feel dizzy at the thought of it.
Last month my sister1 and I spent a week in the part of the country I’m drawn to. We visited the small market town2 that’ll be my closest hub and every single person we spoke to was a delight. Every shop, every cafe, the market, the air. I was grinning the entire time.
My best friend and soul mate and the only person I’d go house hunting with
This was the second time I’d visited. The first was in 2014. I was with family and we were only there for a few hours but it was enough time for me to take a selfie with a barn owl on my head. The universe is not subtle.