An unfamiliar sound wakes me up. I stare in the darkness for a long time trying to decipher the glowing digits on my alarm clock and note that it is only 12:27am. This startles me as the numbers magically align themselves into my birthday, and I know I won’t be able to fall asleep again. The warm and velvet, all encompassing night has me awake, and I slowly inch my way to the living room, not to wake my daughters up. It has happened before. I keep waking at exactly this time every now and then. I love the night, this bewitching hour when I am alone with my thoughts. I turn on a soft music and revere in this dreamy moment before my brain kicks in. Then … my thoughts start their ebb and flow.
I glance at my place. A beautiful heirloom dining table in tobacco brown anchors the room and always gives me a sense of warmth and happiness as its rich finish reflects the mellow light of a lamp. This is my favorite piece of furniture and it holds a special place in my heart, not only because it is beautiful and elegant, but also because it metaphorically represents what, at the core, our small family stands for. This table was set numerous times to celebrate our friends, birthdays and holidays. It was splendidly adorned with glowing candles, sparkling crystal goblets and china. It heard the laughter of my daughters at our jokes and the conversations with our guests. Making food for the holidays, that is later elegantly displayed on the table, is our tradition, and it always unites the three of us, even if we sometimes bicker and crowd each other in our small kitchen. It evokes so many good memories and yet it is not strewn with any knick-knacks. It reflects the spirit of this place, a clean, and stylish piece.
The rest of the room is uncluttered and pretty, too. This is my refuge from a sometimes messy and unforeseeable world outside these walls. Life, as I know it, is far from predictable. I lived through turbulent relationships. This place provides me with comfort and safety on my terms. Here, I carved out a decent existence for my daughters and myself. The place I live in may be just an apartment to some, but to me it is my haven, where both my daughters and I feel at home. Now, during the time of Christmas, I am especially aware how precious that feeling of having one’s own place is. It extends beyond the physical space; it is a mental one, too. It’s here where I don’t need anyone’s permission to be who I am. My place.