Home' Nova West : May 2010 Contents 17
yards, three bedrooms, clean carpets, and
the place looked like actual human beings
had lived there, not demented ebola
chimps. This, out of all the places I'd seen,
was the one I wanted to live in. I wanted it
enough to take a small stem of jade plant
from the front yard and place it in water
on my altar -- literally bringing the energy
of the house to be with me. Placing a
future footprint in motion.
I didn't hear back from the agent, so
I reluctantly looked at other places. One
Saturday, I was about to sign papers for
another house. A bizarre three bedroom
house that was mostly cupboards and
doorways. I didn't like it, but it was what
I could afford.
Something drew me back to the unit.
I'd just been to Gardenworld and
purchased some herbs to put in pots at
home. Daring, I planted a seedling of
parsley in the vacant unit's front garden
bed. If I'd been caught, I could have been
done for trespass, and reverse stealing.
"Sorry, Sarge, I was just sneaking this
plant onto the property and giving it a
"Ms Patrice, you have been caught
donating plants to a house. That will be a
month in jail and a fine of $500, and you
will be asked to remove the parsley."
I said nothing to anyone. No one
would believe me anyway.
I went home, repotted the other
herbs, and wept over the thought of
moving into the cupboard house. I sat
in front of my altar and moved the jade
plant stem closer to my statue of Kuan Yin.
"Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy," I said.
"Please help us. Find us the right house
to live in."
The phone rang, just as it would in
the movies, with perfect timing. Did I still
want that three bedroom unit? Someone
else was going to move in, but it fell
through. It was mine if I wanted it.
Yes! I signed the papers that afternoon,
and we moved in two weeks later. All
gratitude to Kuan Yin. A large statue of
her sits outside our front door. I tell all
who enter "she found us this place".
Even though it was a rental property, I
set about making the place mine. We did
all the usual things -- received permission
to hang pictures on the walls, took down
the original curtains and hung our own,
and burned incense to make it smell like
home. I also transformed the garden. Rose
bushes into every spare corner, a garden
bed of herbs to accompany the poor
neglected reverse-stealing parsley, jade
plant cuttings taken and struck, and plenty
of hardy ground cover put in. A hammock
for the front yard, and wind chimes in
Talking about this over Christmas
dinner with my brother, he exploded:
"You're an idiot! You won't be able to
take those plants with you when move!"
It didn't matter to me. I was thanking
the house and yard by adding to it, like
I've always done. Five rental properties
now, and I've left behind rose bushes,
herbs, lavender bushes, and rosemary. For
remembrance. I remember each house
I've been in. Why shouldn't they remember
me in some way? If it costs me some
money, so what? My mother taught me
to leave a place in better condition than
when I entered it.
We are perhaps looking to move
again, hopefully to somewhere a bit bigger
that has an enclosed backyard for the
puppy. Each of us has our "must have"
criteria, and our "would likes". Soon, it will
be time to send my consciousness forward
into the future, and dream the right house
for us, and then, with gratitude, ask Kuan
Yin to find it for us.
We will move in, and begin again
the process of turning a house into a
home. Pictures hung, posters on the
backs of doors, incense mixing with my
daughter 's knock-off perfumes, and my
son's occasional splash of cologne. Add
in three cats establishing themselves in
the neighbourhood, the puppy excitedly
loving all comers, and it will be time to love
up the garden with plants, wind chimes,
light catchers, and Christmas baubles.
And no doubt, when we move, it
won't take long until there are mysterious
grubby footprints halfway up someone's
bedroom wall. No one ever owns up, no
one knows how they get there, but they
always appear. When we move into a
house, we really move in.
'Five rental properties now, and I've left behind rose bushes, herbs,
lavender bushes, and rosemary. For remembrance.'
'And no doubt, when we move, it won't take long until there are
mysterious grubby footprints halfway up someone's bedroom wall.'
© NOVA MAY 2010
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