When I speak to my landlords about the house, pronouns get in the way. I start to say, “mi casa,” and then hesitate, and say, “tu casa.” We dance around the words for a few minutes, smiling and shrugging.
It’s a difficult thing for me. We pay our rent, and we have filled the place with our furniture and art. But whispers of their lives are everywhere.Stickers on the desk, and airplane-shaped light fixtures remind me that my friends brought their babies home to this house. Their children toddled around in their padded feet, and they parked their strollers in the garage. Birthday parties, Sunday meals, and a million other moments, shared under this rooftop.
And then, they needed to rent this house out. The moved out, leaving behind their plants, and their glorious, broad oak table. We sit underneath their painting of the gondolas at rest in Venice. We are a family so small in comparison to theirs. I sometimes worry that we are simply unworthy of such a space.
My landlord said one day to me, “Este es tu casa. No es mi casa, es tuyos.”
I replied, “No. Tenemos un oportunidad vivir aqui. Pero, es tu casa. Siempre.”
We agreed to disagree.
I make this house my own, and I enjoy the small spaces I create.
But I also live with a sense of awe. Of the home we have been gifted, and the people who remain a part of it.
I am honored to hear their whispers each day.