The house of...something

morgan_wharton_coverLast spring an unexpected offer had me teaching two classes this past semester, both for graduate students at NYU. It's something I never thought I'd do -- teach -- especially when I work full-time, sometimes more than full-time, at a job that keeps me engaged and checking my social platforms at midnight. (And especially considering I don't have, and don't want, a graduate degree.) I may have danced around with glee after I turned in my grades this week, but there's lots I'll miss about teaching. But oh, how nice it feels to have free weekends and Wednesday nights again. Just in time, too; next week we move into our new place, which means right now our apartment is part mess, part chaos, with boxes blocking the TV and random scraps of paper littering our floors. No one likes moving, of course, but we Cancers despise it most; my home is important to me, and a sense of unease has overtaken me when I walk in. It's temporary, but it's there.

All my books are packed (thanks, mom) and I have put myself on an ebook-buying hold, which means I'm currently reading a tattered old copy of The House of Mirth, a favorite. Or at least, I thought it was a favorite; I'm finding it tough to get through, but that's partly because the state of my mind these days is less than focused. It feels like a harkening back, though, like a visit to a memory; a piece of the familiar when everything else is changing. I'll take it.

A history of flying

I saw all the headlines about how the mystery of Amelia Earheart may have been solved, but I couldn't bring myself to read the stories. I preferred my own: that she slipped into a parallel universe and led a sister life, maybe, or that she landed in some utopian island with a manageable brain injury that wiped out her memory and went on to form new, even better ones. Whatever. I just didn't want to know the truth yet. The narrative around her, for me, sufficed. Because it meant we got to all dream up our own endings. But then I saw this piece from Gawker, and that bit about the freckle cream, and oh my, how I would now like to know what happened, really for real, not just speculation. I want the details. I want the noises, the wind, the shade of polish on her nails. The rise of the tides. Where her goggles ended up. And maybe that's why I never wanted to find out in the first place, because there would never, could never, be enough information about it all unless -- and even that's sketchy -- there were some kind of play-by-play that didn't leave out a second of her own inner monologue as the plane went down.

I've always favored the little moments and the small details. Why did she wear that cardigan? What was his expression when he made that phone call? Where did she go to buy the milk? The big ones, the big choices, are usually decided far in advance and happen over time, rendering them less shocking, so that when they do occur -- when someone moves or gets a new job or buys a car or has a baby -- everyone's already used to the idea of it.

I moved last week and now I'm in a different city, a different state even, with a different person, but those are all decisions I made what feels like a long time ago and just took a while to get here. So now I'm playing with the little details: where should this picture go? Which cabinet should be for mugs? How many ice cube trays do we need?

Where should my goggles end up?


I’m moving in mere weeks, across a couple of rivers and into a whole new state. Right now is the time for inertia, though – too early to start packing and selling and donating; too late to reconsider (did we pick the right place? Is this all a mistake?). So for now my move is all just in my head, and in the lone document I had to sign. There are things I’m giving up. A car , which I am glad to leave behind. Cable. (It's an experiment, but I think I'll survive just fine.) A shared wardrobe.

There are things I'm gaining, too. More things than I can count, I think.

Today I got a sunburn on the back of my neck and in the shape of a V on my chest, and ate fried Oreos and street food, and patted my parents' dog, who I call Grandpa, because he's mellow and observant and quick to sit. Back in my apartment, my family asked how K. and I were splitting up our furniture. Everyone seemed concerned. But it's easy to decide. I'm losing my favorite bookshelf, the one that houses all my Baby-sitters Clubs, but I'm keeping the antique framed print of the John and Jackie Kennedy; K. is taking the turquoise curtains, but I'm snagging my grandmother's sewing chair, with its so-old-it's-ugly print, an identical pattern to the one on a footstool I came across in a vintage store in my new neighborhood a few weeks ago.

By the time I realized I wanted that footstool, though, that it did indeed match the chair, it was gone.