They say that the trend these days is for adult children to move back in with their parents. So, since my family is nothing if not trendy, my college-graduate daughter and her boyfriend and their pit bull and hamster moved in with my husband and I, and our turtle, and our two dogs a few months ago. Then, just to round out the jolly scene, a beloved childhood friend of my daughter's, whose life had hit a tricky patch, joined us as well.
Luckily, our estate is such that we were easily able to set the young folk up in their own wing, simply alerting the staff to stock one of the other kitchens and a few of the other bathrooms with whatever the kids might want or need.
It was lucky too, that we'd tired of our garden and were eager to see what the new pup, a master of deforestation, had in mind for the space.
When the time came for my scheduled trip to New York, I bid the household farewell, and after a pre-dawn flyaway bus to LAX, a flight to Kennedy, an airbus, a train, a brisk walk from Penn station, a stop at the hotel desk to check in and get my key, an elevator ride up to the 7th floor, and a brief struggle with the door, I was all alone, in a room of my own.
And that, my friends, was a feeling beyond compare.
My room was perfect. The frowzy furniture reminded me of my ancient Auntie Rosie, for no reason I could put my finger on. I found the tacky faux-Asian lamp almost unbearably touching.
The next three days were entirely blissful. Granted, I was there to do fun things and see people I adored, rather than to have un-anesthetized surgery, say, or attend the funeral of a loved one. But still, just the sense of utter privacy was indescribably delicious and I could not have been happier.
On reflection, I'd felt precisely the same joy years ago, when I was between husbands and rented a dank, windowless, basement apartment in Alston Massachusetts where I worked in a plastics factory. That room, too, was perfect.
I am back home in the messy, moody, crowded bosom of my family as I write this. I'm glad to be here and know that this is where I belong. But that takes nothing from the sweet, sweet memory of having a room, however briefly, that was all my own.