Living in residence now for over 4 months, I have learned that for years I had taken for granted two important luxuries: couches and vegetables without onions. The second can be written off by an overstock of onions in our cafeteria, but the first is something I didn' t think I would miss as much as I do. Just think about it though, you come in after a long day, you kick off your shoes and you plop down on your couch and sit and relax for even just thirty seconds. Or you have people over and there is actually a place to sit that Isn' t a bed. A small luxury, yes, but that' s what you miss when you' re away from your house for the first time. So, even as I sit here, eternally grateful that I more than lucked out in my living accommodations (I have a single room and my own bathroom in downtown Montreal), I can' t help but miss my crowded little half house.
My house is an odd little character. It' s a semi-detached in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, and is in walking distance from everything you could possibly need. The cement blocks are a bit crooked as you come up and there is certainly no driveway or garage to speak of. However, walking up to the snow covered porch, you can' t help but get the feeling that someone somewhere cares about you. As soon as you thrust open the big wooden door, the smells of dinner warmly wrap around you, inviting you in. To the left is our family room with a small fireplace crackling secrets and our huge chesterfield that always seems to be beckoning. Straight ahead is our little kitchen, today filled with the aroma of red wine risotto simmering over the stove. Finally to the right are the ever-creaking stairs. We' ve ' fixed' them about forty-seven times now but the still insist on pinpointing the climber' s location every time.
Through the kitchen and down the stairs, after stopping to taste the roasted vegetables that have just come out of the oven, there is snow outside up to your knees, covering what is normally my mother' s beautiful garden. In the summertime, the beautiful scents and colours whisk you away to another world where everything is vibrant. Continuing down the stairs, I bring you to my most favourite room in the house, our music room. Between my stepfather and I we own 13 guitars, 2 bass guitars, a drum set, a weighted keyboard, an oboe, 3 recorders, a pan flute, a classical bass, and a number of auxiliary percussion items. The basement breathes music. Every night, the notes of my stepfather' s guitar float through the vents into all of the rooms of the house filling it with whatever mood is drawn from the strings that night.
I love my half house. But what I love more than the creaky stairs or warmly decorated rooms isn' t exactly tangible. What I miss most is the feeling that you get as soon as you take a step in the door. My house isn' t the loud obnoxious house. My house isn' t the dead silent house. Mine is the one covered in cat hair, the one filled with conversation about interesting things, the one teeming with love and respect. My house is where I can wake my mum up at 3 in the morning because I need to talk. My house is where I can sit in front of the fire and read all day. My house is where my whole family comes together for celebrations and where my friends love to hang out. My house is where you can sit in silence next to each other and know that that is all you need for company. My house is a home.
So while I' m not sure that I can make my single room magically produce a couch or bring in my mother as the new chef in the cafeteria, maybe, just maybe, I can bring a little home with me anyway.