Throughout childhood, my future husband and house were ever-present, if only in the faintest of outlines. Oddly, the house made a stronger impression than the man. Long before I fantasized about kissing or even conversing with a man, I had pictured the house, a cottage surrounded by garden. There, I knew, I would be able to be myself, without answering to others.
Only in my late 30s, when I found myself in a small Indiana town, exhausted after years of chasing the greener grass on the other side of a degree/marriage/relocation/[insert your own key to reinvention] and miffed at the ending of yet another relationship, did I finally begin to understand that having a home of my own could itself be a kind of relationship.