When I hung my mezuzah next to the door of my new apartment, I named her Fernanda. A client once told me she gave her daughter that name “because it’s a strong name.” My apartment needed a strong name. She’s teeny tiny, like people tell me I am. I’m 5’2″, she’s 360 square feet. When I moved in, she smelled suspiciously like a medication I took or asthma when I was younger. Now, she smells like my lavender soap, my Seventh Generation laundry detergent, and a little bit like my cat’s litter box. She smells like my things.

I lived with my parents until I was 18, and I lived with roommates throughout college. Right after I got my B.A., I moved in with my boyfriend. Now, I live alone, and everything is mine. I relish waking up in the morning and turning on lights and putting on music–sometimes Heart and sometimes NPR–and when I leave for work, I know that everything will be just as it was when I get home later on.

The walls are lined in bookshelves and adorned with photos I took (of porches) and photos Ikea took (of beaches), and sand dollars, a Kit Kat clock, my college diploma, jewelry, Tibetan prayer flags, and an anti-war poster. I thought about adding a pro-choice poster, but I’m the only one living here, and I don’t have to convince myself of the necessity of choice. For the first time, I have a color scheme, instead of a mishmash of stuff and stuff and stuff. My scheme is blue and yellow, as you can see on my comforter and throw pillow and my little kitchen table for one. That table is my favorite place to sit. I can open the door that leads to the porch and admire the little bowls shaped like flowers that perch on the built-in shelf above my sink.

My bathroom has a built-in heater and blue tiles, as if the builder, 60+ years ago, designed it for me. My bedroom and my living room are one room, boasting a larger-than-life window that looks out into a pink dogwood tree and a pizza restaurant across the street. Sometimes, I smell Greek pizza.

Saturday nights, I clean because I like taking care of Fernanda. Days off, I don’t go to a coffee shop to read, because I have a comfy chair and a quiet place of my own. Well, it’s my own and Ramona’s own. Ramona is my cat, who makes an apartment a home. She leaves black fur all over the place to remind Fernanda and me of that fact. It’s just the three of us, just like we like it.

* If you don’t talk to me on a regular basis and this new living arrangement confuses you, read between the lines and you’ll probably be correct. I am happy.

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