If only I had my own space, a room with walls, a hay loft, an attic, a greenhouse, a shed. If only the walls were painted pumpkin orange or aqua.
If only my desk wasn't a table with its back to the kitchen. Envelopes everywhere. Magazine wishful pictures on the wall.
If only the windows weren't so bare and glorious, facing the street and the sun and the oft-naked neighbor. If only the windows faced a backyard. If only the trees in the backyard were autumn red always. Or the window faced the driveway and a lone car came up the driveway, a station wagon with someone, again and again. If only the windows had curtains, and the curtains were linen, soft green.
If the plants had been with me for more than a year.
If I had art. If I had more books. If I had a plush chair. If I had lemons in a pale dish.
If I lived alone. If I didn't.
I spend much time coveting others' work spaces. It's the first place I look for. It's the spot I want to move into, though they close the door, my friends, against their papers. I want to peek inside. If only I had the perfect chair, I would write perfectly, at last, cast in a little light shade.
Today I bought a chair.
It's sage green and straight-backed and nicked and the last of a dining room set. It lost its brothers and sisters. But it was cheap and I could carry it by myself to my car and now it sits at my desk, a little closer to the world I want. It makes me happy to see it, like the thin blue scarf I flung over the light in the bedroom, like the black and white postcards Shara sent.
If I had straight hair. If I had no freckles. If I could hear out of both ears.
I'm not sure when I stopped believing those things, within the last two years, I think. Maybe last spring; I put on my red sweater with the key-hole top and a tight skirt, and went to give a reading, checked myself once in the elevator mirror, thought: this is fine.
Everything was about to change. It was fine before that, and then it would be fine again--not soon, not soon at all, but again.
This table with its back to the kitchen, the nicked chair, the new plants, the unpainted walls, the empty everything. This is fine too.