Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Night ...

Last night HH spent his first night in our new home on the Brüsseler Platz in Cologne, in the apartment we have been looking for, for what seems like forever. I’m almost hesitant to write about it for fear that someone will come along and snatch it away from us –“Hey! You’re not supposed to be living here!” – is what I expect to hear from the sidewalk below as we putter around the space emptying boxes and setting up house. He seemed happy when he ran through the space for the first time yesterday, calling out to me to get busy and open the boxes, find his toys and get on with the playing. I did my best and in short order he had trains and cars and cooking supplies spread out all over the place. Later in the evening we went out for pizza then played a while in the Brüsseler Platz playground, just outside our front door. It’s remarkable really, and a huge blessing, to have found this place, an old townhouse nestled among huge old trees and flower-filled gardens. The view from HH’s window is filled with tree limbs and green and wide sky – not unlike the view from his very first bedroom on Bank street in the West Village of Manhattan where his window also looked out onto a garden and a thin corridor of trees that grow in the back yards of the brownstones that line the cobblestone streets in that neighborhood. Brüsseler Platz is much grander in a way, the windows of this apartment are huge and the space itself is much larger that anyplace we have ever lived before. It’s a home we can spread out in, a space for each of us to be alone for a moment if we need to be, to write or think or work or play – or cook. At last I have a kitchen big enough to cook and eat in. I’m writing this from the kitchen table – a mutt of an old thing we picked up second-hand from a friend of a friend – but it seems to fit here among all the sharp white tiles and sleek gray stone floors, a symbol - old and a bit wobbly – of simplicity and modesty. It is also a reminder, that although we live in this very special place, we are still the people we have always been and if we need to apply a glob of glue now and then or put another piece of something under a leg to keep the thing steady then so be it. There must be three generations of fixing-up in this table, there are at least that many types of wood that make it up and I like it for that unpretentious funkiness and I intend to keep patching and mending it until it completely falls apart, which it probably will some day, and when and if it does I hope I can find another one just like it.

The sun is just about up and I expect any moment now to hear him running down the hall to find me and I look forward to hearing all about his first night in his new room. No doubt he will sit on my lap and ask me to talk to “baby” – his raggedy old bear – and I hope she gives me a good report. I hope she slept well with her little man and that both of them are smiling and happy and feel at home here.

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