I had been spending a lot of time in my kitchen.
My living room, a mere 20 feet away, was a fine room to wile away the hours; it had a stylish and inviting leather couch, a soft area rug and even a TV. I wasn’t avoiding the room.
My dining room had a nice table, a comfortable chair and old, original artwork from an era I could just barely recall. But aside from dinner, the room served only as a passageway to the kitchen.
My office was quaint but inviting, masculine but tasteful. It had a desk, a shelf full of random oddities and conversation pieces; an authentic wrestling mask from Mexico sat next to a Candy Land board game left over from the previous tenant… Books littered every corner, though I kept my favorites in the living room. The walls were a mix of remnants from my art school days and framed pictures of dogs playing poker—All formerly relegated to the attic.
I never worked in there. I barely remembered the room existed most days.
Somehow, I always ended up in the kitchen.
I looked out the window into my backyard, the unmowed lawn hiding in the shadows of the old oak tree next door. I left the kitchen door open to let in a breeze. It was that perfect time between seasons where the weather didn’t know whom to serve.
I lived in the type of place that was full of those “One day you’ll look back and laugh” features. Tiny imperfections littered my quaint little house. All houses have them. But minor annoyances that would have previously sent me to the mad house now posed a challenge and promised warm recollection down the road—providing the road was long enough to water down the context.
My little bungalow was not unlike my life, in certain respects; it was nice enough, but certainly had plenty of flaws—nothing major, just a lot of little imperfections and minor annoyances that ultimately build some sort of character, for better or worse.
My bathroom, however, was another story entirely. It would take an awful lot of time and an entire ocean to water that one down.
The toilet was built for a giant; my feet dangling, toes just barely able to reach the floor when seated, and the cramped quarters left no space to hang a roll of toilet paper.
But it was the shower itself that truly tested me, day in, day out.
That first morning when the faucet handle broke off in my hand, I thought to himself, “One day I’ll look back on this part of my life and laugh.”
The engineering conundrum that kept my tub regrettably lacking in a shower rod reinforced that sentiment on a daily basis as I consistently flooded the bathroom floor. When my bath tub mysteriously closed its own drain one morning, I scratched my head, thought it odd; then attempted to open it back up, only to find yet another unattached handle in my quickly pruning hand as dirty water slowly began to rise up to my ankles.
The tub itself was long and narrow, and I had to stand in it sideways, as if I were on a surfboard; I had to wash himself one side at a time.
Water pressure, it seemed was a whim of some evil spirit that possessed my home’s pipes, waiting until just the right moment of maximum lather to recede to little more than a lazy drip.
Currently, my shower refused to fully relent, spitting out a small, yet steady trickle no matter how tightly I twisted the faucet closed.
I was going to have to call the landlord for this one.
I let out a little sigh, possibly a curse, then smashed an ant sprinting across the kitchen counter with my thumb.
The ants moved in about a week after me.
Aside from the uninvited guests in search of a picnic, it wasn’t a bad kitchen, really. There was plenty of counter space to perch upon as I drank and smoked and pondered yard work.
It had a nice little alcove for my bar, and was one of the largest rooms in the house. There was a severe lack of power outlets, making a coffee maker little more than a wet dream, but that was part of the charm—at least, one day it might be.
I did the most thinking in the kitchen. Lonely nights spent leaning against the counter, staring at my reflection in the darkened window often brought me the most perspective. It felt less like looking in a mirror, more a glimpse into something deeper—an internal truth beyond the normal trappings of self-denial.
I rarely did any actual cooking in the kitchen, other than schemes and half-baked ideas. Yet I was almost always sitting on the counter, as if I were waiting for something to come out of the oven.
The oven hadn’t worked in months.
Hour upon hour was spent chain-smoking—watching the smoke float effortlessly up and away, stretching like taffy until it dissipated into nothing before my eyes. Sometimes I wished I were the smoke. Other times, I wished the world were.
None of these imperfections bothered me too deeply, though. They were just quirks, small reminders that nothing in life is perfect. Not bathtubs or broken ovens, neither unwelcome guests nor forgotten corridors.
“One of these days,” I thought, “I’ll look back and laugh.”