The only thing missing for Nye and I now in our mid-twenties (or so we told ourselves) was a home of our own, and this we found soon after marriage on a single day of searching in which we looked at just three terraced houses, the last of which had cupboards full of mouldering food left behind by its long-ago last renters.
Despite the stink, the disorder, we found ourselves checking every room, each feature, as if it were a newborn: See the old wood panelling under the stairs! The little lean-to beyond the living-room window – just like his Gran’s! The back door to it was locked, so we lifted the sash and climbed through to the porch.
That hot plastic smell of his childhood, mine!
We had to have it.
Whimsy. Fun. Instinct. Lightness. How some of the best – and worst – decisions of a life are made. Walking over a threshold and seeing a stranger, a set of rooms, and emptying one’s head, one’s pockets. Taking a hand, a key. Exchanging the milk cow for the magic beans. Thinking not of cost or profit. Refusing the call of future possibilities that will fall away when choosing this place, that person. The way it is done: from smell, sound, stomach; all the senses coming together to assay the moment.The Cure for Sleep
This month’s extract from The Cure For Sleep for subscribers on Substack looked at a life-altering moment of choice, and invited readers to share short true tales of their own on this theme. Here is where those responses are shared.