Is it you I love, or is it your house?

I.

I am twenty-five and two and a half months old, which means I’ve been an adult for 9,178 days. But I do not own a home to call my own. My income has never been stable and is now nonexistent. In the last seven years, I have lived in three different cities and six different dwellings.

II.

You have built this life with your own two hands: house on the county line, property and woods, horses I see from the back bedroom, deer snapping twigs in the night. I crack open the window to listen to the creek, let it bubble into my dreams. I wonder if you’d let me stay if I promised not to make a sound. To remain in my own little corner, close enough but not too close to the wood-burning stove, and simply watch you–watch you live this life you have built on your own.

III.

Feed me peaches with your fingers, and I will lick them clean.

IV.

Were you waiting for me while you were constructing? Did you know I would show up one day, or did you only hope it? I would slip right inside your redwood firewood existence. I would make us dinner every night and not make a sound.

V.

I cannot play the piano. No one ever taught me how to sew. I was going to learn to make pie crust, but my grandma passed away before I got the chance. Now I buy it at the store, the kind that’s full of artificial chemicals, and I use it to make potpie. For a week, I eat the potpie on my own, in my rented duplex, on the hand-me-down couch, because I do not own a dining room table.

VI.

Do not hang the elk hide on the wall. I’ve no use for skins and furs of animals in my city-soaked existence. Do not hunt–I won’t gather. Paint the rooms a toffee brown, and I will hang my photographs. I will make us herbal tea and baked salt-and-pepper tofu, and we will drink and eat at the Ikea coffee table, like the hippest, most fashionable things.

VII.

When I was a child, I dreamt of running away. I dreamt of the nomadic life, filled with a duffel bag, my camera, and airplanes–a life never settled, never still. In my eighth year as an adult, I dream of rooting my feet in one place, lashing myself to the trees behind your house and never becoming unraveled. I dream of thick blankets and functional fireplaces. I dream of peaches baked in pie crust that I have made with my own two hands.