I have house guest this week. An old friend who will stay with me in my cozy apartment. That was the plan, until my housemates from downstairs needed someone to apartment sit for them.
It is the evening before my friend arrives and I am in my housemates’ apartment, making sure that the space is ready. I pull out sheets and towels and put away pots and dishes. In the process, I find one of my forks in the cutlery drawer, warmly welcomed into neat piles of silverware after some past exchange of cobbler or cake. I lay the fork on the kitchen table.
The only thing left for me to put away is a trio of white ceramic bowls, outward sloping and angular in shape. They are bowls I know well and deeply associate with my housemates. These bowls have contained all manner of things: ice cream eaten in solidarity when one of my housemates was pregnant, chili consumed in ecstatic joy as we gathered for house dinner, and soup, not consumed at all because a toddler’s pacifier floated in between the chicken chunks and spinach leaves.
I carefully place the bowls in the cupboard, pick up my fork from the kitchen table, and ascend the stairs to my apartment. Like my fork, I am going home from home. I wouldn’t want to welcome a house guest into any other space. For here, we regularly share our forks, our bowls, our households, and our lives.